The four-person race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Kentucky didn't just turn nasty.
It's been this way from the beginning, but the ugly accusations were lurking in the shadows of social media, emails and whispers.
Now it's in the public eye, and we can all be nauseated together.
And just when you think it can't get any worse, Christian freaking Laettner weighs in.
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The sad, twisted and confusing saga of James Comer, Marilyn Thomas and Hal Heiner has left the race in a stunning state of flux with less than two weeks before voters go the polls.
The truth of what happened between Comer and Thomas, who alleges that Comer physically and mentally assaulted her more than two decades ago when they were students at Western Kentucky University, might be unknowable, or at least unknowable before the May 19 election.
But it's painfully obvious that one of them isn't telling the truth. The question, of course, is who will voters believe?
The latest chapter in this depressing book was a challenge from Thomas to Comer, via The Courier-Journal, to take a lie-detector test.
When asked about that challenge Thursday morning, Comer told the Herald-Leader that he would do so if requested by a grand jury that is reportedly examining whether Lexington blogger Michael Adams, who has posted about the abuse allegation for months, threatened the children of Comer's running mate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
"If they ask me to do that, we'll do that," Comer said.
While truth is the ultimate goal of journalism, it is often an afterthought in political campaigns, and the accusation alone might be enough to sink Comer. But if Thomas produces proof that Comer assaulted her or accompanied her to an abortion clinic in 1991 (she appears to have told the Courier-Journal that proof of Comer's involvement in her abortion exists in a safety deposit box that she can't immediately access), Comer is finished in politics.
All of this should have been good news for Heiner's campaign, but Heiner became enmeshed in the mess last week when the Herald-Leader revealed that Heiner's running mate and her husband communicated with Adams last fall about his plans to discredit Comer.
Heiner has struggled mightily to maintain that he is running a positive campaign, especially since his former campaign manager is running a super PAC that has taken aim at Comer and Matt Bevin.
Comer has fanned those flames by accusing Heiner's campaign of offering money to people who would make accusations against Comer. The commissioner of agriculture offered no proof to back up his allegation, which Heiner says is untrue.
Comer even called Heiner "the Christian Laettner of Kentucky politics," prompting the (blue) devil himself to remark on Twitter that Comer's comment must mean that Heiner will win, just as Duke did in 1992.
It doesn't help the optics of Heiner's situation that Stan Franczek, the president and CEO of Capstone Realty, which Heiner founded, just last month contributed $100,000 to the Bluegrass Action Fund, another super PAC that started running ads this week attacking Bevin.
In comments that caused some coffee to be spit out Wednesday morning, Bevin said during a debate on Kentucky Sports Radio that Heiner had told him about the rumors of Comer's past "months and months ago."
"You told me that yourself, Hal. You told me in your office to my face," Bevin said. "The reality is Hal Heiner is not who he pretends to be."
When the Herald-Leader asked Heiner about that charge on Thursday, Heiner said it was inaccurate.
"I have no recollection of that," Heiner said. "We've talked from time to time. I know he asked me to support him in the McConnell race, which I didn't. But I have no recollection of that at all."
And that leads us to what could end up being the biggest shocker of all: Bevin, the man who attended a pro-cockfighting rally in the midst of his losing war against the godfather of the Kentucky Republican Party not even a year ago, could very well win this thing.
Even before the latest revelations, Bevin was making waves, shocking even the most loyal soldiers of Mitch McConnell with a remarkably improved approach to campaigning, fantastic television ads and Lincoln Day dinner speeches that turned the heads of folks who for the last year have written him off as unelectable.
With Comer bleeding and the mess spilling onto Heiner, Bevin might well end up the biggest beneficiary of this sick and sordid contest.
The idea was unthinkable a few months ago, but by the time Bevin entered the race, it had already become so personal between Heiner and Comer that they either didn't notice the entrance of a new challenger or didn't take it seriously.
If Bevin has the money and the strategic wherewithal to take advantage of the war between Heiner and Comer, it's not far-fetched to think he could be the Republican nominee after the dust settles.
Admittedly, the list of things I don't know at this point is much longer than the list of things I do know, of which there are only three I'm absolutely certain of these days:
■ The biggest winner of this saga is Jack Conway;
■ Kentucky voters deserve so much better than this mess;
■ I will always hate Laettner.