On the eve of Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary election, Hillary Clinton longed for the same result she got eight years ago in the Bluegrass State.
Clinton told several hundred enthusiastic supporters Monday night at the Clive M. Beck Center on the campus of Lexington’s Transylvania University that she campaigned in the auditorium the night before she carried Kentucky with more than 65 percent of the vote in her 2008 presidential primary against Barack Obama.
“I hope it gives me the same, positive victory as we had before,” Clinton told the crowd.
Unlike eight years ago, most political pundits believe Kentucky’s Democratic primary election Tuesday will be tight.
Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator, is the national front-runner, but Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has won a string of recent races and is expected to perform much better in Kentucky than Obama.
The winner will capture the majority of Kentucky’s 55 pledged delegates to this summer’s Democratic presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia. Perhaps just as important, the winner can claim momentum heading into the June 7 primary elections, which features delegate-rich California and New Jersey. Clinton hopes to lock up the nomination in those states.
Both Clinton and Sanders have campaigned heavily in Kentucky in recent weeks. He made a campaign swing through the western part of the state last weekend before going to Puerto Rico Monday and Clinton finished her final push in the state Monday with campaign stops in Paducah, Bowling Green, Hopkinsville and Lexington.
At the Lexington rally, she was introduced by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and had the support of four former Kentucky Democratic governors — Steve Beshear, Paul Patton, John Y. Brown Jr. and Julian Carroll.
Beshear had a speaking role in which he criticized presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. He said Clinton is the most qualified person ever to run for president and is reliable, smart, strong and knows “about the use of diplomacy to keep peace in this world.”
When Democrats put up their candidate “against the other guy, no one in their right mind would want Donald Trump’s finger on that trigger” to decide whether to launch nuclear weapons, Beshear said.
In her 35-minute speech at Transylvania, Clinton pledged to focus on the economy and education if she is elected president.
In sounding themes she has made throughout most of her campaigning in Kentucky, she called for more attention to the nation’s infrastructure.
She said she wants a national infrastructure “bank” to set aside funds for major building projects, which, in turn, she claimed, will create more good-paying jobs.
Clinton said she would keep and grow advanced manufacturing jobs in Kentucky and the nation, noting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was impressed with the Space Science Center at Morehead State University.
She repeated her comment from Sunday in Louisville that she voted for the auto bailout and Sanders did not.
Sanders’ campaign issued a news release Monday that said Clinton is not telling the truth on the bailout.
It said Sanders voted for a $14 billion aid package which passed the U.S. House in December 2008.
“When that bill ran into a Senate Republican roadblock, the White House turned to a separate Wall Street bailout fund for loans to the auto industry,” said the Sanders’ campaign.
Sanders voted against that, which gave Clinton the opening to say he voted against the bailout.
Also on the economy, Clinton said businesses that make profits should share them with employees. She advocated for more clean energy and noted that she has proposed spending $30 billion to help the nation’s coal industry.
Clinton called for raising the minimum wage, doing more for small businesses owned by women and minorities, and providing equal pay for equal work.
She recalled that a little girl recently asked her if she becomes “the first girl president, will you get paid the same as a boy president?”
Clinton also said she would preserve the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, because health care is a major part of the economy, but would work to lower the costs of health insurance deductibles and prescription drugs.
She said Republicans have no plan for health care other than to try the dismantle the progress that has been made. She specifically cited a provision of the federal law that bans insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing health condition.
On education, Clinton said community college should be free and that students should be able to refinance their college loans.
The most “solemn” role for a president, Clinton said, is providing national security.
She promised to defeat the Islamic State group and al-Qaida and noted her role in advising President Obama “to go after Osama bin Laden.”
Clinton also took credit for putting together international sanctions against Iran to keep that country from developing nuclear weapons.
She said she would use diplomacy like that instead of threats. She said Trump’s “insults to Muslims will make life harder. That’s a risk we cannot take.
“I’m looking forward to debating Donald Trump,” she said.
▪ Polls are open Tuesday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone in line by 6 p.m. may vote.
▪ Voters must produce identification or be known by a precinct officer before voting.
▪ To find out whether you are registered to vote and where you vote, go to the Voter Information Center at the State Board of Elections’ website, Elect.ky.gov.
▪ If you see problems, call the state attorney general’s election-fraud hot line, 1-800-328-8683.