Story by Dylan Doyle, Contributing writer
With just a few days remaining before the Tuesday, Nov. 3 Election Day, both major parties are vying to gather support and momentarily pull voters away from the 2016 presidential conversation.
“It’s been a quiet governor’s race,” said David Ramey, chairman of the Calloway County Democratic Party.
Ramey said the Democratic slate of Jack Conway and Sannie Overly blames the lack of attention on intense coverage of the 2016 presidential race.
“That’s one of the downsides of having the governor’s race the year before a presidential election,” he said.
Republicans Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton have sought to capitalize on some of the same issues that have characterized the presidential race so far, especially the concept of political outsiders versus established politicians.
Neither Bevin nor Hampton have held public office, although both have made unsuccessful bids in the past. Conway is the current Attorney General of Kentucky and Overly serves as a state representative.
Greg DeLancey, chairman of the Calloway County Republican Party, who describes Conway as a “career politician,” said Kentucky voters are tired of the Democratic Party’s “patronage games.”
“It’s time for a Republican to be in the governor’s office,” DeLancey said.
DeLancey also said the GOP has the upper hand among Murray State students because Bevin and Hampton have spent substantially more time campaigning locally than Conway and Overly, and because Bevin will grow Kentucky economically.
“[Bevin] will be someone who will develop jobs,” DeLancey said. “Both Matt and Jenean are entrepreneurs. Their outsider status gives them an edge because the people want to see new ideas.”
Ramey said Conway is the clear choice because he understands the issues that are important to college students, and he “understands Kentucky government.”
“If education is your number one issue there is only one choice,” Ramey said. “Bevin has flip-flopped on so many issues it’s hard to know exactly where he stands.”
Whatever their differences, both parties agree that getting Murray State students to the polls is important.
“You’re probably looking at a very low turnout,” Ramey said. “I would encourage any college student to get involved with any political party of their choice.”