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Hillary in the Bluegrass State

For those questioning whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) should be considered the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination, look no further than her weekend trip to Kentucky -- the so-called Bluegrass state that has become decidedly "Red" over the past decade.


Hillary Clinton was all smiles during her trip to the "Red" Bluegrass state. (AP Photo)

Clinton journeyed to the "Purple" island of Louisville to headline a Saturday night event that drew 2,000 attendees and raked in better than $600,000 for the state's Democratic Party -- the largest take from a single fundraiser in the history of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Hillary's haul is all the more impressive given that Republicans currently dominate the state's political scene, controlling the governorship, both U.S. Senate seats and five of six House seats. President Bush won the Bluegrass State in 2004 by 20 percent over John Kerry.

HRC backers say the majority of the dollars came from individuals, with local party groups from 99 of the state's 120 counties paying for a table at the event.  The remaining 21 counties had a representative in attendance, the sources said.

The ability to travel to a red state and deliver such a huge cash total is a trait that only Clinton has among those Democrats considering a 2008 White House race.  And while money may not buy happiness, it certainly does buy political loyalty.  As she travels the country raising dollars for candidates and party committees, Clinton is accumulating a huge number of chits that she can call in should she run for president.

As her own Senate reelection race seems to get less competitive by the day, Clinton's efforts to raise campaign funds for others should pick up. She has already been in Nevada, Texas and Florida (red states all, although each has large pockets of blue) to raise money for her "Friends of Hillary" committee this year. 

If HRC continues to show financial strength in areas where Democrats have not been able to raise much money in the past decade, it could counter the argument that she cannot mount a true national campaign -- one that would require fundraising outside of the traditionally "blue" coastal states.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 5, 2005; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

I don't think that these guys are guaranteed to win their home states. No matter what Bush does/fails to do/screws up/whatever, the American people just do not take today's Democrats seriously on terrorism. Terrorism is the number one issue.

Posted by: jefferson poole | May 3, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

my bet: Hillary President/Bayh Vp

Posted by: al | April 19, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

On the topic of a woman on the national ticket, I'm all for it. I think Governor Kathleen Sebelius rocks. I believe Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is underrated. I don't think the media gives enough attention to Janet Napolitano. However, consider this...

GWB has turned back the hands of time on civil rights, progress, and common sense. It will take a few years of GWB being out of office before voters begin to think logically, again. I'm fearful that a woman on a national ticket in 2008 (Dems or GOP) will hurt that ticket's chances of winning. There are too many bigots out there, and GWB got them all excited in the last two presidential elections. Theyv'e got their guns in one hand, the Bible in the other, and unfortunately they also have the right to vote.

Like yourselves, I would be proud to have Rodham-Clinton, Sebelius, or Napolitano in the White House. But, too many bigots (men AND women) would probably prevent that in 2008.

Posted by: BrianSFCA | January 12, 2006 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if anyone is still reading this, however... here's my two cents worth. I firmly believe the best chance for the Dems in 2008 (based on the status quo) would be the joining of Warner and Bayh as the meal ticket.

I, too, think Hillary is wonderful. Heck, I have a t-shirt with her name printed across the front. But, as a native of Kansas (now a San Francisco resident), I can tell you the red states would refuse to give their votes to a ticket with her name on it. Bigotry in the red states would prevent Hillary from winning (prez or veep). In another time and place (when common sense prevailed) Hillary could win easily, hands down.

Warner-Bayh is more realistic. Both are extremely popular, former governors of red states. Bayh has the congressional prominence, and I think that's an advantage for him as the veep candidate. Both men can appeal to blue collar, white collar, and flannel (agriculture). Warner has turned a major deficit into a surplus. That speaks well of him, given the state of the economy and social security.

Sorry if I am giving into a superstition, but senators do not win presidential elections. Southern, democratic governors do win presidential elections. Warner-Bayh is our best bet.

Posted by: BrianSFCA | January 12, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

TO hell with Hillary. She can not win the general election. She is losing to McCain by 10 percent, and Clinton has the higher name recognition so she should be doing better. The only men I want to see at the heads of the ticket in 2008 is Edwards, Bayh or Warner. Wes Clark would be a good VP.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 10, 2005 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Dave Meyer above,Fletcher has
about as much chance in this state as G.W.
B. would right now. I guess that about says it all,better start taking polls,
Chris because Kentucky is changing it's
color's.

Posted by: Floyd F.Vaughn | December 8, 2005 10:23 PM | Report abuse

nothing brings stability to a country more than a dictator like Sadam. Why doesn't the ACLU defend him, he's their there kind of guy. Get Sadam off and next time no mister nice guy.

Posted by: Bill | December 7, 2005 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Is it ethical and or legal for reps. and senators to head up fundraisers outside there own states? I thought they were paid to do their jobs in D.C.

Posted by: charles kelly | December 7, 2005 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Andy, Iraq is already unstable and Bush's "strategy" isn't doing anything to improve the situation. Bush failed to plug the borders and send enough troops from the beginning. Along with Rumsfailed's shrugging off the looting as "s**t happens" only added to the instability. Iran is taking advantage of this opportunity to seize control and install a religious government. Bush has no plan to prevent that.

Posted by: KAS | December 7, 2005 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Its time for women to run this country, I say Clinton/Napolitano or Clinton/Sebelius ticket for 2008.

Posted by: Amy | December 6, 2005 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see all these KY citizens on commenting on this blog.

Posted by: Bayh fan | December 6, 2005 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ana - I agree but it ain't just HRC. Think about how much it costs the taxpayers for Air Force One and W to fly around the nation campaigning for their GOP buddies. McCain does it too. They all do.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2005 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Yes. Hillary has relinquished exactly the same percentage of her salary as has George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and others in their similar fund-raising efforts.

Posted by: Georgia | December 6, 2005 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Why do we have such a hard time remembering that vice presidential candidates don't matter? All 2008 discussions here seem to take for granted that the inclusion of a midwest candidate such as Bayh would automatically lead Indiana with neighbors to vote Democratic, or likewise with a southerner. Except for LBJ on JFK's ticket in 1960, this is a myth that gets reproduced every election, as we so badly want to enjoy the speculation. Problem is this isn't some sort of regional accumulation exercise.

It's the presidential candidate that matters. And not even then would Bayh be sure to carry Indiana, who never goes for the Democrat.

Posted by: Outsider | December 6, 2005 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Michael Fox- Warner/Bayh. Even though Bayh was a governor, the fact is that he is still in the Senate. There has not been a President elected from the Senate in 45 years, although many have tried.

Furthermore, there have only been 3 northern Democrats ever elected to the Oval Office, and again, it has been nearly half a century since that happened.

Warner and Bayh have good track records as governors, and have appeal to centrists and independents as guys that aren't bogged down by partisanship. Given the poisonous climate of today's politics, having someone with that kind of attitude would be nice.

Posted by: Big Bear | December 6, 2005 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Tameka,
There are a couple of problems with your thinking on the war. First off an unstable Iraq is the worst thing that could happen to Iran. They want a stable Shiite Iraq to act as a partner against Isreal. The Iranian government has no love for the Bin Laden type groups. Although they may share views on the role of Islam in Government they wish to be the power brokers of the middle east and for that to happen Al Queda must go or be kept in check somewhat.
Also China has a growing problem with fundamental Islamists as well. With the growing numbers of muslims in Southeastern Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia) eventually it will move across the borders into China. We have seen in the past how China deals with new (or any) religions, by outlawing them and persecuting the followers. Now if history tells us anything this will cause the muslims to fight back and as we have seen this will mean terrorist attacks on Chinese soil.

Posted by: Andy | December 6, 2005 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Warner/Bayh that is out ticket.

We get Indiana and Virginia and all other blue states. I think this is the ticket guys. Go Democrats.

I do not understand why the media is not covering that the longer we stay in Iraq the real winner is Iran. Secondly Osama said that his intention is bankrupt America, all he has to do is tie us down there for two to three years. That will definitely hit us in the pocket, while China goes full speed ahead.

Posted by: Tameka | December 6, 2005 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Nice Deanish photo of Hillary! Does Lincoln offer medical and dental?

Posted by: jf | December 6, 2005 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Ok, from an international perspective, I am writing from Australia, via Japan. There is only one U.S politician that people around the world respect enough, like enough, and maybe are intimidated enough, for the damage done by George. W to be undone. The world wants to see in 2008, a President Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Sam | December 6, 2005 3:22 AM | Report abuse

"The ability to travel to a red state and deliver such a huge cash total is a trait that only Clinton has among those Democrats considering a 2008 White House race".

As someone from Louisville, KY I'd beg to differ with that statement. John Edwards raised quite a bit of money in Louisville during the 2004 election. Don't count out Senator Edwards on the ability to raise money in Red states. We had quite a few Republicans joining us Dems. at a fundraiser for Senator Edwards in 2004.

Posted by: pmorlan | December 6, 2005 2:01 AM | Report abuse

I firmy belive that Hillary cannot win the Presidency in 2008. She is to polorazing to most people and that is not a way to win the presidency. I am a 20 year old from the south and I am a Democrat. I care a lot about the Democratic party. I really hope Mark Warner gets choosen as the Democratic Nominee. He can win us new states and he is a governor and governors have much better chances than senators of winning the presidency. My second choice is Evan Bayh. He was a two term Governor and just got re-elected to a second term. I feel he could add some midwestern states for us. My ideal ticket is Warner/Bayh if that doesn't work that Bayh/Warner. Think about it. I think Hillary won't be able to win us any new states and could in fact lose states that we have won in previous elections.

Posted by: Michael Fox | December 6, 2005 12:04 AM | Report abuse

While Hillary is traversing the country raising money for the Democratic party, has she relinquished her government salary? Or is she continuing to collect her congressional salary? Her job is "on the Hill".

Posted by: Anna Henry | December 5, 2005 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

As I'm sure you know, a number of other 08 Dem. contenders have appeared in KY of late, though in the much less friendly confines of Northern KY.

Biden raised $150,000 for the D. Party in a packed fundraiser [http://tinyurl.com/bwyds]; Edwards was well received in a debate with Steve Forbes at Northern Kentucky University [http://tinyurl.com/e38bh].

I suspect you're underestimating the rejuvenating effects of the Fletcher scandals on the state party.

Posted by: Dave Meyer | December 5, 2005 9:54 PM | Report abuse


Bayh could use Clinton to secure the left vote and protect the blue states, especially all of New England, NY, PA and California. Additionally she is well liked in Florida. That puts the Bayh in the position of sweeping the midwest. Its the reverse of Nixon's southern strategy and leaves GOP to scramble hard to protect their base. Clinton will peel off many independants. What many Dems are afraid of is the right wing ditto heads that will savage Clinton. Got news for you, they are going to do that to anyone. It doesnt matter if it is Bayh-Warner, Warner-Bayh, Clinton-Bayh or etc. Heck the right torpedoed McCain, just as the will Pataki, Romney, and Guliani. Conservatives will not be happy unless they can get a Brownback, Santorum, George Allen, or Roy Moore the idiot judge from Georgia at the top of the ticket. The closet the GOP has to a potential winner that can bridge the red and blue states is Hagel from Nebraska. Personally, McCain would win the general election but probably can not win the GOP primary. Hence, Hagel may be their only hope.

Posted by: db | December 5, 2005 9:19 PM | Report abuse

db has it right...almost. Bayh-Warner, not Bayh-Clinton.

Posted by: Bayh fan | December 5, 2005 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Raising funds may not equate to votes at the polls in red states. I still think a Bayh-Clinton scenario would work in red states.

Posted by: db | December 5, 2005 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Note that Hillary is facing a prmary challenge from the anti-war left.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/120505A.shtml

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 5, 2005 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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