It's the midnight hour in Louisville and photojournalist Greg Schapker and I are 115 miles from home after a weeklong day at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County, Kentucky.
It was my first Fancy Farm, so here are some fresh observations:
- The intensity level is quite high in the U.S. Senate race, with pure vitriole between the Paul and Conway camps. Zealous and defensive.
- I expected the heckling from the crowd to be in response to what the speakers were saying. Instead, the partisans from both campaigns seemed to simply attempt to drown out the other guy with screaming and booing. If not for the setting, some of the people would appear insane. Thank goodness no one brought any World Cup vuvuzelas. It was that kind of din at times.
- Trey Grayson may be endorsing Rand Paul in the general election, but he acknowledges that he is taking nothing back that he said in the primary campaign. Given what Grayson had said about Paul's "crazy ideas," his candor now could provide some ammunition for the Conway campaign strategy to paint Paul as risky.
- The barbecue sandwiches are a good price, $3 for a healthy portion of pulled pork. $1 for soft drinks.
- Larry Dale Keeling says I missed the best food at the neighboring K of C hall, which served fresh vegetables.
- There were more campaign signs lining the route to Fancy Farm, than the approximately 2,200 people who live in Fancy Farm.
- Note to self: bring a lawn chair next time so you can sit with your laptop like the rest of the experienced media members.
- Note to self 2: Don't sit anywhere near Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeigh. He needs space (with all due respect, Tony)
- While neither Jack Conway or Rand Paul campaigned among the people attending Fancy Farm, Conway at least did walk to and from an RV where we were able to grab him for a quick interview. Paul and Mitch McConnell made a beeline to and from the Fancy Farm stage and their vehicles.
- Best questions from the crowd: "Where's Richie (Farmer)?" and "Where's (Daniel) Mongiardo?"
- Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) spent a couple of hours working the crowd but did not stay for the speeches. He was booed in abstentia. Williams wife and children were with him.
- Trey Grayson was the only speaker to go over his allotted three minutes of speaking time. When Grayson passed the allotted time, his microphone was silences and a bluegrass band played "Rocky Top," as an annoying trigger in Big Blue Country. Grayson would have hinted he is considering running for Attorney General.
- One political observor mentioned that the candidates' spouses may be the best looking spouses in Fancy Farm history.
- An informal poll indicates that Steve Beshear's speech was the best of the day. He never breathed and left little room for hecklers.
- Sports logo worn most by Fancy Farm attendees is NOT Kentucky Wildcats. Instead, St. Louis Cardinals.
- Lots of Jefferson County license plates in Graves County
- Best legitimate "heckling" was when the Fancy Farm political chairman Mark Wilson thanked a number of legislators for their helo in getting a new school built for Fancy Farm, a couple of people in the crowd snapped back, 'what about the taxpayers?'
- Tea Party Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett said he asked to speak but was not allowed.
- More details later. Laptop battery fading.......
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