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Vote for whoever you want, just vote

 Since Friday, I have heard both incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes speak in Lebanon.

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If I'm being frank, I found the whole thing annoying and disruptive, although to be fair to the candidates, neither of them was here for me, which I do understand.

McConnell made an appearance at Joy Global Friday afternoon. A piece of mining equipment served as his backdrop, and an audience of mostly (but not entirely) Joy's employees were in front of him. Grimes spoke Sunday evening at Centre Square to an audience of at least 400 people (close but not quite entirely Democrats) from at least eight counties.

Neither candidate got too deep into the issues, which I didn't expect from last-minute stump speeches. Both made their stops in Lebanon as part of closing swings across the state designed to get out the vote for their respective sides.

For what it's worth, I heard Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" at both events. I find it strange that people play that song at political events (just as I find it strange to hear at Fourth of July events). It's as if people only pay attention to the chorus instead of what the song is really about.

At Joy Global, Sen. Jimmy Higdon shared an anecdote about the value of seniority in legislative bodies as part of his introduction of McConnell.

"The way we change direction is we re-elect Sen. Mitch McConnell,” Higdon said.

When McConnell took his turn at the podium, he hit the sound bite points you would expect if you've been following the campaign at all. He'll fight President Barack Obama's "War on coal." Voting for Grimes is like voting for Obama. If he's majority leader, he'll be able to shape the direction of the Senate and stand up Obama's over-regulation of America.

McConnell also described Grimes as "the new face of the status quo."

On Sunday, outgoing Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly and incumbent State Representative Terry Mills encouraged voters to get to the polls, stressing the importance of turnout in both Mills' and Grimes' races.

Former Governor Martha Layne Collins, who was travelling with Grimes, spoke about the need to change the way things are done in Washington D.C., to end the gridlock that comes with partisanship. She said McConnell has spoken about his dream of becoming the Senate majority leader.

"I didn't hear Kentucky in there anywhere," Collins said.

Grimes followed that up, saying they have stood up to what she described as "bullying" by McConnell's campaign and on his behalf. She also argued that McConnell wants a bigger office while she wants Kentuckians to have bigger paychecks.

Obviously, there is more to any campaign than a quick stop-and-go speech, and I hope no one is basing their decision on who to vote on either candidate's recent remarks.

With that in mind, I'd encourage you to take the time to watch the debate on KET and the one-on-one interviews that aired last week ( both can be found at http://goo.gl/V7ZCfv).

I'd also encourage you to review the stories about the candidates in the local races for school board (http://goo.gl/ump09W and http://goo.gl/sgzPlz), county judge (http://goo.gl/DQM4Y1), two Court of Appeals races (http://goo.gl/hM1bNx and http://goo.gl/mbGJe0), state representative (http://goo.gl/VgVbik), the First District U.S. Congressional seat (http://goo.gl/SwMavT) and even the soil conservation board (http://goo.gl/Gjk557). 

In many of those stories, you'll find links to transcripts of interviews with the candidates.

The one thing I will agree with both Grimes and McConnell (and Mills for that matter) is that turnout will the deciding factor in many of the bigger elections. It doesn't mean anything for someone to say he or she supports a candidate unless that person also takes the time to vote.

Because of my job, I don't wear campaign buttons or stickers. I don't put stickers on my car.

But on Election Day, I look forward to wearing my "I Voted" sticker, and if I run into you, I hope you are wearing one, too.