Dems focusing on Williams in 2012

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By Stephen Lega

You probably won't be surprised to hear that the Kentucky Young Democrats talked politics over the weekend during their convention in Lebanon.

But some people might be surprised that the Democratic Party is essentially conceding Kentucky as a lost cause already in the 2012 Presidential race. Even Keidra King, a field representative for Barack Obama's re-election campaign, said as much when she stopped by the convention on Saturday.

That doesn't mean the Democrats are sitting out the 2012 election, however.

Instead, they are working to develop community organizations to help with federal and state legislative races and to create a network of organizations across Kentucky to assist with future campaigns. Specifically, they are looking to unseat U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.

This year, however, they have their sights on one particular state legislator who isn't actually on the ballot, Senate President David Williams.

Former governor and current State Senator Julian Carroll said Williams proved last fall that he could not win elections in many parts of Kentucky, and Democratic officials intend to try to win control of the state Senate by making Williams -- or more specifically, getting Williams out of the Senate President's seat -- the focus of every race.

You may remember that Williams and his supporters tried to tie Gov. Steve Beshear to President Barack Obama during last year's gubernatorial race. It looks like Democrats are going to use a similar approach by trying to tie as many Republicans to Williams as possible.

Democrats are hoping to reclaim "values" as a campaign issue as well.

State Rep. Kelly Flood of Lexington said liberals have typically viewed religion as a private matter. While many of them come from religious traditions, they have not been as open as conservatives about how their faith shapes their political views.

Speaking of religious views, treating others as you would like to be treated (a sentiment found in many faiths) comes to mind. Yet, I'm certain both parties will find ways to justify ignoring that particular bit of advice. It's more likely that super PACs are going to shape the advertising we see and hear, especially after the primaries are over.

We've already had a taste of how the so-called super PACs operate, starting with Jimmy Higdon's special election for the state Senate and continuing with last year's governor's race. If you've been following the Republican presidential primary campaigns, you've also seen how super PACs are willing to undercut people they mostly agree with on issues.

We all know that the Presidential race will just get uglier as we get closer to November.

But I find myself wondering, how far down the ticket the ugliness will go? With several legislative races, including our local state House seat, on the ballot, my hope is that our local candidates will focus on the issues, and that the super PACs will turn their attention elsewhere.