By HERB BROCK
6:06 AM PST, November 8, 2012
A new political star was born during Tuesday’s elections in central Kentucky. His name is Heath Lovell.
Heath Lovell wasn’t on any ballot but he played a big role in Republican Andy Barr’s defeat of Democratic 6th District U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler.
Heath Lovell is Kentucky’s version of Joe the Plumber, but Heath provided a lot more help to Barr, who won his race, than Joe was able to give 2008 Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain, who lost his.
You know Heath. He’s the earnest, fresh-faced, preppy young guy wearing the coal miner’s hat in the Barr commercial whom the Chandler team in their own response commercial said was a fake coal miner.
That turned out to be a huge faux pas by the Chandler team and/or the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee as it turned a random “Andy loves coal like me and every other red-blooded Kentuckian should” commercial spot into a TV/radio mini-series and turned Heath into both a maligned martyr and a TV/radio and political star.
It’ll take a long time for me to forget Lovell’s indignant response to the Chandler attack on him, the one where Heath says Chandler “call me a liar” and he says, “I’m not a liar” and “shame on you, Ben Chandler,” or stuff like that.
I bet ol’ Heath, the full-time coal company executive and part-time miner, and his former frat brothers, all in khaki dockers, blue shirts and Weejuns sans miner helmets, probably laugh over a few adult beverages at The Two Keys, or whatever the hip collegiate hot spot now is in Lexington, over the whole deal.
They laugh over Heath getting away with stretching the truth a smidgeon over his profession — he probably goes into mines about as often as professionals needing continuing education credits and license and certification refresher courses attend classes — and then they laugh even louder over his playing the role of injured and insulted working man to the hilt.
While Andy Barr can give Heath a big hug for helping him beat Chandler, he might watch his back over the next two years.
Buoyed by his newfound stardom, Heath may be running in the 2014 GOP primary against him.
Heath’s campaign song probably would be something like “Coal Miner’s Son” with the same sound and lyrics as the Loretta Lynn classic, except he’d have to replace Butcher Holler with Idle Hour Country Club or a similar cleaner, funner and easier to “work” place above ground.
He probably knows a lot more about fairways and sand traps than tunnels and coal dust.