Fancy Farm Goal: Don’t Get Stumped on the Stump

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

That headline serves as advice for all politicians preparing to speak at Fancy Farm this weekend. Failure to heed the warning could result in serious consequences. Historians, elected officials, and the media quickly recall the names of those who were overcome by the pressure of hecklers in the crowd and the eyes of their opponents staring at them from behind.

So when the candidates for U.S. Senate brace the Fancy Farm lectern tomorrow, keeping their cool is the name of the game. National political analyst Howard Fineman believes the small picnic grounds will be brimming with journalists from across the country eager to document the spectacle on the stump.

“People will want to see Alison Grimes,” says Fineman. “They know Mitch McConnell and there won’t be much of a surprise factor, although it will be interesting and amusing to see Mitch as ‘country Mitch’ as opposed to ‘city Mitch’ and see how he handles that.”

I caught up with Fineman during a recent trip to our nation’s capital. I also talked to James Carroll, Washington bureau chief for The Courier-Journal about the Kentucky race.

The conventional wisdom is that Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Matt Bevin have more to prove this weekend than incumbent Mitch McConnell – and the senior senator ranks as a master of political theater. My advice to office-seekers hoping to survive their six-minute speeches at Fancy Farm: BYOB (of water because hydration is key) and BYBS (bring your best speech).

Tune in Saturday for exclusive live coverage of the speeches beginning at 2:30 p.m. on KET and online at I’ll be tweeting about the picnic goings-on, so look me up on Twitter @ReneeKET.

If you can’t join us tomorrow, Bill Goodman and I will recap the weekend’s events Monday night at 8 on KET.

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