The beautiful, awe-inspiring horse racing is behind us. So let's get back to the ugly kind with the finish line in sight.
Mercifully, the 2015 race to be Kentucky's next governor is almost over, and voters will go to the polls Tuesday and put an end to this campaign.
As they do, here are five questions we're asking that probably will decide who moves into the mansion in Frankfort in December.
1. Is boring brilliant?
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The tricky part about covering Kentucky Democrats is figuring out whether they're nervous for a good reason or nervous out of habit.
For months, they have been worried/terrified/petrified that Jack Conway has not been visible enough, not done enough rallies and focused too much on fundraising to beat what they consider a weak and unelectable opponent.
Click on the links to read candidates' positions on key issues in the following races:
- Attorney general
- Agriculture commissioner
- Secretary of state
- Lexington Urban County Council 1st District
But Alison Lundergan Grimes' 2014 rallies were enormous, expensive, slickly produced events that yielded feel-good moments and a brutally lopsided loss. Conway has put his money on TV advertising instead and, unlike Grimes, he will not be outspent.
It's hard to imagine that Conway's voters are "fired up and ready to go," but they might be chomping at the bit to vote against Bevin.
2. Which Matt Bevin do voters see?
If Bevin loses, we will be able to point to many reasons why, and most of them came out of his mouth.
The Republican nominee's flip-flops on major policy issues make John Kerry in 2004 look like a picture of consistency, and Bevin's temper with reporters and even some people who have tried to help him is fairly well known by now.
If voters share the opinions of people who are involved in politics on a daily basis, then Tuesday night will be a long one for Bevin. If there's a significant disconnect between the chattering class and the people who vote Tuesday, then get ready for four years of fireworks.
3. A Nader or a nonfactor?
How will we think of independent candidate Drew Curtis the day after the election? Is he a spoiler or a footnote?
If Conway loses by a couple of points, Democrats will spend their darkest hours between now and 2019 cussing the name of the independent candidate.
But if Curtis continues to pull supporters from both sides of the political spectrum, as the polls have shown, his presence in the race might be a wash.
If liberal Democrats defect en masse, then he's a spoiler for Conway. If he's the landing spot for the protest votes of establishment and moderate Republicans, then he could be Conway's savior.
Regardless, his place on the ballot could deny the winner 50 percent of the vote, leaving that person without any kind of real mandate when they get to Frankfort.
4. Who wins the cliché contest?
It's all going to come down to turnout. It depends on who shows up to vote. It was a dark and stormy night.
Two of those three statements are the same thing we hear (and people like me say) any time a close race is coming to an end.
But there's a reason for that — they're the biggest unanswered questions remaining.
Bevin has run hard to the right in the closing days of the race, making appearances at religious liberty rallies and mixing up his usual closing message about the evils of apathy with a focus on social issues.
Will a coalition of Tea Party and evangelical voters who might not have voted in the past (and thus not shown up in opinion polls) come together to put Bevin over the top, or will traditional Democratic groups, disaffected Republicans and uneasy undecided voters make Conway's polling leads a reality?
As is always the case, both sides are claiming momentum, superior ground games and the advantage if turnout is as low as expected. We'll find out soon who did a better job of getting their people to the polls.
5. Issues or ideology?
At its heart, this is an election about issues, though it's not easy to tell given the personalities of the candidates, the modern style of politics and the general disinterest (disdain?) displayed by the electorate.
In a state where Democrats often sound like Republicans, the choice voters often face is between night and later that night.
But in this race, Conway and Bevin are night and day — even weeks — apart on major issues of enormous importance to the future of the commonwealth.
Not on coal or guns or some of the commonwealth's traditional battlefields, but on health care, labor union laws, education and many other topics. The two major-party candidates are offering two very different visions of the future.
We've seen the attempts to nationalize this race by Republicans who have painted Conway and the rest of the Democratic slate as presidential puppets, but the issues being debated will have a real-life, practical effect on the lives of the people who live here.
If the people who show up Tuesday are looking to avenge Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' short stint in jail, then Conway is toast. If Kentuckians go to the polls with the goal of ensuring that the state's health care programs aren't set on fire and left to burn, then Bevin will be on the outside looking in.
So there you have it. It's a mess, but we'll get it sorted out Tuesday.
Until then, the only thing we can know for sure is that all three candidates would lose to American Pharoah.