United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2008

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United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2008
Kentucky
2002 ←
November 4, 2008
→ 2014

  Sen Mitch McConnell official cropped.jpg Bruce-Lunsford.png
Nominee Mitch McConnell Bruce Lunsford
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 953,816 847,005
Percentage 53.0% 47.0%

KY-USA 2008 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg

County results

U.S. senator before election

Mitch McConnell
Republican

Elected U.S. senator

Mitch McConnell
Republican

The 2008 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 4, 2008. Minority Leader and incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a fifth term.

Background[edit]

In 2007 Kentucky's unpopular Republican Governor, Ernie Fletcher, lost his re-election bid. The Democrats took control of both Houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections and in October Chuck Schumer acknowledged they were aiming for McConnell's seat.[1]

State auditor Crit Luallen was considered a top contender for the Democratic nomination, but she decided to remain as auditor.[2] Lunsford was asked to run by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.[3] Seven candidates competed for the Democratic Primary nomination. The primaries for both parties took place on May 20, 2008 in which Lunsford took more than 50%.

Democratic primary[edit]

Candidates[edit]

  • Michael Cassaro
  • Bruce Lunsford
  • James Rice
  • Kenneth Stepp
  • David Williams
  • David Wylie

Results[edit]

Democratic primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bruce Lunsford 316,992 51.15%
Democratic Greg Fischer 209,827 33.85%
Democratic David L. Williams 34,363 5.54%
Democratic Michael Cassaro 17,340 2.80%
Democratic Kenneth Stepp 13,451 2.17%
Democratic David Wylie 7,528 1.21%
Democratic James E. Rice 2,365 3.29%
Totals 619,904 100%

Republican primary[edit]

Candidates[edit]

Results[edit]

Republican primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mitch McConnell 168,127 86.09%
Republican Daniel Essek 27,170 13.91%
Totals 195,297 100%

General election[edit]

Candidates[edit]

Campaign[edit]

In October Lunsford and McConnell were statistically tied in the polls. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said "If Lunsford is actually doing this well, its got to be because the public is so upset by the economic meltdown and may be blaming the legislative leaders."[5]

A debate scheduled for October 7 hosted by the League of Women Voters was canceled when incumbent McConnell decided not to participate even though Lunsford announced he wanted to debate.[6]

On November 2, 2008, media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal noted that the website of The New Republic had reported that anti-McConnell flyers questioning the senator's sexuality as well as the reasons for his 1967 military discharge were being distributed in Kentucky.[7][8]

Predictions[edit]

CQ Politics rated this race as 'Republican Favored',[9] but later rated it 'Leans Republican'.[9] The Cook Political Report considered it 'Lean Republican'.[10] The Rothenberg Political Report once considered it a 'Clear Advantage for Incumbent Party'[11] but later called the race 'Narrow Advantage for Incumbent Party'.[12]

Polling[edit]

Poll Source Dates administered Lunsford McConnell
Survey USA November 1, 2008 45% 53%
Rasmussen Reports October 29, 2008 44% 51%
Research 2000/
Lexington Herald-Leader/
WKYT-TV
October 22, 2008 43% 47%
Rasmussen Reports October 21, 2008 43% 50%
SurveyUSA October 20, 2008 48% 48%
Rasmussen Reports September 30, 2008 42% 51%
SurveyUSA September 21–22, 2008 46% 49%
Research 2000 for Daily Kos September 15–17, 2008 37% 50%
Voter/Consumer Research September 7–9, 2008 35% 52%
Survey USA August 11, 2008 40% 52%
Rasmussen Reports July 29, 2008 42% 52%
Rasmussen Reports June 25, 2008 41% 48%
Voter/Consumer Research June 15–17, 2008 39% 50%
Survey USA June 13–16, 2008 46% 50%
Rasmussen Reports May 22, 2008 49% 44%
Voter/Consumer Research May 21–22, 2008 39% 50%
Research 2000/
Lexington Herald-Leader/
WKYT-TV
May 7–9, 2008 36% 48%
Voter/Consumer Research January 6–8, 2008 37% 52%

Results[edit]

General election results[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mitch McConnell 953,816 52.97 -11.7
Democratic Bruce Lunsford 847,005 47.03 +11.7
Turnout 1,800,821 62.0 +19.2
Republican hold Swing

Results breakdown[edit]

Election results by county. Red indicates McConnell led in a county, while blue indicates that Lunsford received more votes. Counties are shaded to indicate the margin of victory.
County[14] Precincts Reporting Lunsford % Lunsford McConnell % McConnell Total
Adair 16 16 2,198 30.88% 4,920 69.12% 7,118 (R)
Allen 13 13 2,331 31.85% 4,987 68.15% 7,318 (R)
Anderson 14 14 4,787 46.27% 5,558 53.73% 10,345 (R)
Ballard 13 13 1,893 46.68% 2,162 53.32% 4,055 (R)
Barren 24 24 6,735 41.15% 9,630 58.85% 16,365 (R)
Bath 12 12 2,747 61.36% 1,730 38.64% 4,477 (D)
Bell 33 33 3,494 38.83% 5,505 61.17% 8,999 (R)
Boone 60 60 15,224 30.75% 34,285 69.25% 49,509 (R)
Bourbon 18 18 4,325 52.26% 3,951 47.74% 8,276 (D)
Boyd 47 47 11,174 54.23% 9,430 45.77% 20,604 (D)
Boyle 25 25 5,854 46.90% 6,627 53.10% 12,481 (R)
Bracken 8 8 1,382 41.17% 1,975 58.83% 3,357 (R)
Breathitt 21 21 3,111 61.41% 1,955 38.59% 5,066 (D)
Breckinridge 15 15 3,736 44.02% 4,752 55.98% 8,488 (R)
Bullitt 44 44 12,501 41.85% 17,368 58.15% 29,869 (R)
Butler 12 12 1,771 33.59% 3,501 66.41% 5,272 (R)
Caldwell 13 13 2,821 46.30% 3,272 53.70% 6,093 (R)
Calloway 30 30 6,870 45.39% 8,266 54.61% 15,136 (R)
Campbell 66 66 14,789 37.55% 24,591 62.45% 39,380 (R)
Carlisle 6 6 1,220 46.51% 1,403 53.49% 2,623 (R)
Carroll 11 11 2,157 57.23% 1,612 42.77% 3,769 (D)
Carter 23 23 5,220 53.74% 4,494 46.26% 9,714 (D)
Casey 15 15 1,783 30.55% 4,053 69.45% 5,836 (R)
Christian 44 44 9,030 40.79% 13,109 59.21% 22,139 (R)
Clark 26 26 7,436 48.49% 7,898 51.51% 15,334 (R)
Clay 20 20 2,458 33.85% 4,804 66.15% 7,262 (R)
Clinton 13 13 1,029 25.42% 3,019 74.58% 4,048 (R)
Crittenden 12 12 1,615 41.59% 2,268 58.41% 3,883 (R)
Cumberland 9 9 763 28.62% 1,903 71.38% 2,666 (R)
Daviess 84 84 20,779 47.94% 22,563 52.06% 43,342 (R)
Edmonson 10 10 1,996 38.06% 3,249 61.94% 5,245 (R)
Elliott 7 7 1,830 71.99% 712 28.01% 2,542 (R)
Estill 15 15 2,162 41.36% 3,065 58.64% 5,227 (R)
Fayette 274 274 68,029 54.15% 57,605 45.85% 125,634 (R)
Fleming 18 18 2,845 50.04% 2,841 49.96% 5,686 (D)
Floyd 42 42 10,105 64.35% 5,598 35.65% 15,703 (D)
Franklin 44 44 13,888 59.00% 9,651 41.00% 23,539 (R)
Fulton 13 13 1,456 53.49% 1,266 46.51% 2,722 (D)
Gallatin 8 8 1,435 45.66% 1,708 54.34% 3,143 (R)
Garrard 13 13 2,858 40.11% 4,268 59.89% 7,126 (R)
Grant 23 23 3,408 39.33% 5,257 60.67% 8,665 (R)
Graves 30 30 7,839 48.76% 8,239 51.24% 16,078 (R)
Grayson 23 23 3,863 39.23% 5,983 60.77% 9,846 (R)
Green 10 10 1,777 35.73% 3,197 64.27% 4,974 (R)
Greenup 32 32 8,258 52.83% 7,374 47.17% 15,632 (D)
Hancock 10 10 2,298 56.09% 1,799 43.91% 4,097 (D)
Hardin 55 55 17,318 43.68% 22,326 56.32% 39,644 (R)
Harlan 35 35 4,440 45.92% 5,229 54.08% 9,669 (R)
Harrison 17 17 3,814 50.47% 3,743 49.53% 7,557 (D)
Hart 19 19 2,962 44.60% 3,680 55.40% 6,642 (R)
Henderson 42 42 11,048 56.06% 8,659 43.94% 19,707 (D)
Henry 20 20 3,194 46.52% 3,672 53.48% 6,866 (R)
Hickman 6 6 1,049 47.49% 1,160 52.51% 2,209 (R)
Hopkins 40 40 8,481 44.87% 10,419 55.13% 18,900 (R)
Jackson 14 14 1,245 24.71% 3,794 75.29% 5,039 (R)
Jefferson 515 515 195,401 55.73% 155,241 44.27% 350,642 (D)
Jessamine 37 37 7,847 39.60% 11,969 60.40% 19,816 (R)
Johnson 31 31 3,252 38.81% 5,128 61.19% 8,380 (R)
Kenton 108 108 19,217 36.26% 33,787 63.74% 53,004 (R)
Knott 30 30 3,477 62.14% 2,118 37.86% 5,595 (D)
Knox 30 30 4,329 39.01% 6,767 60.99% 11,096 (R)
LaRue 12 12 2,523 41.97% 3,489 58.03% 6,012 (R)
Laurel 45 45 6,850 31.15% 15,138 68.85% 21,988 (R)
Lawrence 18 18 2,641 47.47% 2,923 52.53% 5,564 (R)
Lee 10 10 1,073 39.77% 1,625 60.23% 2,698 (R)
Leslie 17 17 1,083 25.15% 3,224 74.85% 4,307 (R)
Letcher 32 32 4,198 51.82% 3,903 48.18% 8,101 (D)
Lewis 14 14 1,787 38.26% 2,884 61.74% 4,671 (R)
Lincoln 17 17 4,119 45.47% 4,939 54.53% 9,058 (R)
Livingston 10 10 2,142 47.35% 2,382 52.65% 4,524 (R)
Logan 20 20 4,379 40.70% 6,379 59.30% 10,758 (R)
Lyon 6 6 1,821 47.80% 1,989 52.20% 3,810 (R)
McCracken 54 54 13,006 42.91% 17,303 57.09% 30,309 (D)
McCreary 18 18 1,576 30.41% 3,606 69.59% 5,182 (R)
McLean 8 8 2,225 50.55% 2,177 49.45% 4,402 (D)
Madison 56 56 14,657 45.96% 17,237 54.04% 31,894 (R)
Magoffin 14 14 2,719 58.81% 1,904 41.19% 4,623 (D)
Marion 17 17 4,304 57.68% 3,158 42.32% 7,462 (D)
Marshall 25 25 7,463 48.94% 7,785 51.06% 15,248 (R)
Martin 14 14 1,203 33.19% 2,422 66.81% 3,625 (R)
Mason 20 20 3,095 44.58% 3,847 55.42% 6,942 (R)
Meade 18 18 5,149 46.58% 5,905 53.42% 11,054 (R)
Menifee 6 6 1,520 61.51% 951 38.49% 2,471 (D)
Mercer 17 17 4,338 44.17% 5,484 55.83% 9,822 (R)
Metcalfe 12 12 1,766 44.03% 2,245 55.97% 4,011 (R)
Monroe 12 12 1,237 27.16% 3,318 72.84% 4,555 (R)
Montgomery 18 18 5,526 54.25% 4,660 45.75% 10,186 (D)
Morgan 12 12 2,475 57.03% 1,865 42.97% 4,340 (D)
Muhlenberg 26 26 7,436 57.90% 5,406 42.10% 12,842 (R)
Nelson 26 26 8,823 49.60% 8,965 50.40% 17,788 (R)
Nicholas 5 5 1,737 59.47% 1,184 40.53% 2,921 (D)
Ohio 25 25 4,664 47.08% 5,242 52.92% 9,906 (R)
Oldham 34 34 10,204 35.25% 18,744 64.75% 28,948 (R)
Owen 13 13 2,019 42.93% 2,684 57.07% 4,703 (R)
Owsley 8 8 559 34.46% 1,063 65.54% 1,622 (R)
Pendleton 12 12 2,155 37.97% 3,520 62.03% 5,675 (R)
Perry 37 37 5,026 49.10% 5,211 50.90% 10,237 (R)
Pike 57 57 12,912 57.16% 9,679 42.84% 22,591 (D)
Powell 11 11 2,863 57.91% 2,081 42.09% 4,944 (D)
Pulaski 57 57 8,108 32.20% 17,072 67.80% 25,180 (R)
Robertson 5 5 498 49.21% 514 50.79% 1,012 (R)
Rockcastle 14 14 1,837 30.55% 4,177 69.45% 6,014 (R)
Rowan 18 18 4,710 58.71% 3,312 41.29% 8,022 (D)
Russell 16 16 2,450 33.67% 4,827 66.33% 7,277 (R)
Scott 35 35 9,238 47.36% 10,267 52.64% 19,505 (R)
Shelby 33 33 7,546 41.15% 10,790 58.85% 18,336 (R)
Simpson 13 13 3,118 44.29% 3,922 55.71% 7,040 (R)
Spencer 11 11 3,159 39.64% 4,811 60.36% 7,970 (R)
Taylor 20 20 4,163 38.52% 6,644 61.48% 10,807 (R)
Todd 13 13 1,772 36.89% 3,032 63.11% 4,804 (R)
Trigg 14 14 2,637 40.76% 3,833 59.24% 6,470 (R)
Trimble 12 12 1,927 50.87% 1,861 49.13% 3,788 (D)
Union 16 16 3,335 55.46% 2,678 44.54% 6,013 (D)
Warren 63 63 19,162 43.84% 24,547 56.16% 43,709 (R)
Washington 14 14 2,316 45.04% 2,826 54.96% 5,142 (R)
Wayne 19 19 3,045 43.30% 3,987 56.70% 7,032 (R)
Webster 14 14 3,000 54.39% 2,516 45.61% 5,516 (D)
Whitley 36 36 4,849 36.37% 8,484 63.63% 13,333 (R)
Wolfe 8 8 1,886 62.74% 1,120 37.26% 3,006 (D)
Woodford 16 16 5,903 48.65% 6,231 51.35% 12,134 (R)

References[edit]

External links[edit]