OK kids, here’s a lesson in practical politics. Let’s call it I Want to Be Governor 101.
Adam Edelen has recently been appointed by Steve Beshear to be his chief of staff. The Herald-Leader summarizes Edelen’s credentials for the position:
Before his appointment to homeland security, Edelen was a senior executive with both Thomas & King Inc. and Commerce Lexington. He also has served as a board chairman of Kentucky Educational Television, chairman of the 2006 United Way of the Bluegrass Annual Campaign and an aide to Gov. Paul Patton.
In addition to his role at homeland security, Edelen is currently vice chairman of the Urban League of Lexington and a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
"Adam brings a diverse resume of public, political and private experience, along with strong and decisive management skills, all of which will be crucial to the ongoing success of this office and administration," Beshear said.
All of this is true, but they left out his most important skill. Adam Edelen can raise money like no one else in Kentucky politics. Edelen can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars without even trying hard. This is an invaluable asset to any politician.
So Edelen has his public service credentials, the ability to raise money, and the Homeland Security job started him on the way to making connections with all of the county officials.
Remember Homeland Security in Kentucky has nothing to do with Homeland Security it is a pork barrel pass through agency, it’s all about handing out money.
By becoming the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Adam Edelen positions himself so that everyone that wants something from the Governor comes through him. This is a powerful position. The Chief of Staff, if played correctly, will get a lot more ink from the press than the Director of Homeland Security.
Now Edelen has scored a political triple play, money, connections and publicity.
With Steve Beshear, unless he pulls an Ernie Fletcher, basically assured of repeating as Governor there is only one place to Edelen to go; the office of Auditor of Public Accounts. Crit Luallen is term limited out of the Auditor’s Office and there are no other viable candidates on the horizon.
Adam Edelen will have a cake walk in to the Auditor’s Office in 2011, much like Jonathan Miller did in his first term as Treasurer during the middle of the Paul Patton’s administration.
The real fun will begin when both Edelen and Jack Conway both want to be Governor in 2015. Both can raise money and will, in the up-coming years, have the opportunity to make and impression on the public.
Remember a successful campaign to be Governor is not only the tactical game of winning the election; it is the strategic game of positioning to win the election.
Adam Edelen is doing a masterful job of positioning.