Let’s get real: There is a lot of angst among the GOP establishment over the outcome of the Kentucky governor’s race.
You would think that they would be celebrating the fact that a Republican, Matt Bevin, will control the executive branch in Frankfort for only the second time in four decades. You would think that those who have been pulling the strings of power behind the scenes would be doubly happy that Jenean Hampton, his female running mate, is the first African-American from either party to hold a state-wide office, but no.
There is no joy among GOP power brokers who are accustomed to handpicking the candidates who are allowed to seek these lofty positions. Secretly, they were pulling for Jack Conway the Democrat.
In fact, Bevin and Hampton received no help from the party until the 11th hour when the GOP Governor’s Association stepped in to help put them over the top.
Let’s be clear: Bevin and Hampton’s victory in Kentucky was a comeuppance for the GOP establishment. In fact, Bevin had been treated as a pariah in the party since he dared to challenge (now) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat last year and, worse still, neither Bevin or Hampton has ever held political office.
Horrors! Could this be the beginning of the end of the political class? Could this mean that other candidates who have spent their lives in the real world running businesses, saving lives, balancing their checkbooks and spending their own money might, gasp, even be elected president? Yes it just might.
Bevin, a proponent of small government, relied heavily on his personal story: his business experience, his military service, his Christian faith, his family and his values. Does any of this sound the least bit familiar?
It should also be noted that Bevin is a father to twice as many black kids as Barack Obama, having adopted four of his nine children from Ethiopia.
Wouldn’t you think this would be of interest to the national media? Nah! The media, which loves a good human interest story, largely ignored this one as well as that of his amazing running mate.
In 2014, Jenean Hampton, like Bevin, also decided to challenge a political giant in her first foray into politics taking on former Democrat speaker of the Kentucky House, Jody Richards. Like Bevin, she lost that race but said she decided to run for political office in order to fix the things that upset her. Like Bevin, she is a veteran, who retired from the Air Force as a captain.
However, her story also bears an amazing resemblance to that of GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson. She was raised in intercity Detroit by a divorced mom with no high school education who worked as a housekeeper. In fact, it is entirely possible that Carson’s and Hampton’s moms shopped at the same thrift stores.
Life was hard and Jenean vowed that she would not remain poor. However, her drive was met by outright opposition from her classmates. Here’s what she told the Courier-Journal
“A huge part of what formed my opinions was the peer pressure that I got to fail,” she said. “These were kids who questioned my good grades, questioned the way I spoke, questioned my choice in music and the fact that I was reading all the time. I just remember wondering, ‘well jeez when do I get to just be Jenean with my own likes and dislikes.”
Hampton worked her way through school and earned a degree in industrial engineering. After she paid off her college loan, she spent seven years in the military as a computer systems office. Following the Air Force, she earned an MBA and worked her way up in the corrugated packaging industry to became a plant manager.
Hampton’s family were all Democrats, but she was inspired to change her political affiliation by Ronald Reagan. She never looked back, eventually becoming chairwoman of the Bowling Green Southern Kentucky Tea Party.
Bevin and Hampton are not considered mainstream by the party establishment and that is one of the things that makes them so appealing. They did not run for public office to get along with the party. They ran to make the government work for we the people.
The mainstream media is portraying their win as simply a backlash against Obamacare. Certainly this played a part in their victory.
However, it could be a case of buyer’s remorse. Last year, the people of Kentucky re-elected Mitch McConnell, a career position, over Matt Bevin with the promise that things would change in Washington. Now, perhaps they will, at least in Kentucky.