View Full Version : Kentucky Votes No

12-09-2009, 11:25 PM
A special-election warning on health care.

In his private meetings with Democrats, President Obama's health-care argument has come down to an appeal to make "history" (see above). He'd be more candid if he said that if they vote for the current bills many of them soon will be history.

That's the warning from the unlikely quarter of Tuesday's special state senate election in Kentucky that became a referendum on the Democratic agenda in Washington, especially health care.

Voters in the 14th District elected Republican Jimmy Higdon over Democrat Jodie Haydon by 12 points. That's significant in a district that leans Democratic by more than 2 to 1, and where Democrats and their allies spent more than $1 million, perhaps twice what the GOP did.

While the Democrat campaigned on local issues and jobs, Mr. Higdon focused relentlessly on the national controversy surrounding health care.

In direct mail, TV and radio ads, the Republican stuck to variations on the theme that it was time to "end Nancy Pelosi's one-party rule" and that "if [Kentucky's capital] Frankfort becomes like Washington, Kentucky health care will be placed at risk."

Given the vast new Medicaid burdens that will be put on states, he is exactly right, and voters took the point.

Democratic Governor Steve Beshear had created the vacancy by appointing the seat's long-serving incumbent Republican to a judgeship in a play to tip the balance of the state legislature toward the Democrats. In a statement congratulating Mr. Higdon, Mr. Beshear conceded that "The Republican Party was successful in their efforts to nationalize this race."


But the message from Kentucky is that the Pelosi-Harry Reid agenda is becoming politically toxic, and Democrats who vote for it will want to have career contingency plans.