On Saturday evening, the rain stopped and the sun came out, setting beautifully over Rough River and the last Lincoln Day dinner of the primary election season.
Inside the rustic lodge, in front of fewer than 100 subdued Republicans, Matt Bevin pointed to the Kentucky state flag, noted the state motto and proclaimed that any of the four Republicans running for governor would be a "far sight" better than Democrat Jack Conway.
But less than a month ago, Bevin declared that rival Hal Heiner had "disqualified himself from being the GOP nominee for governor" after the Herald-Leader revealed links between the Heiner campaign and a Lexington blogger who for months circulated allegations that James Comer abused his college girlfriend.
It's hard to come back from "disqualified."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
On Friday, state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr disclosed on social media that she believes the allegations against Comer, saying she has known the accuser for 20 years and was "praying that evil will not triumph in this GOP primary race."
It's hard to come back from "evil."
When Bevin got in the race, Jesse Benton, the former campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, said Bevin had acted like a "petulant child" when he refused to endorse McConnell after losing to him last year.
It's hard to come back from, well, you get the idea.
The sun will come up Wednesday morning, and it will dawn on a fractured state Republican Party.
Going into Tuesday's primary, it is all but impossible to tell which Republican will emerge victorious.
But it's easy to see that the winner of the primary is Conway.
The battle for the Republican nomination turned nasty long before the links between Heiner's camp and Lexington blogger Michael Adams were made public and well before Marilyn Thomas wrote a letter to The Courier-Journal accusing Comer of hitting her, belittling her and accompanying her to an abortion clinic in the early 1990s. (He has denied the allegations.)
In this muddy war, there are grudges dating to 2007's Anne Northup vs. Ernie Fletcher gubernatorial primary and even Larry Hopkins vs. Larry Forgy in 1991.
There is more than disagreement. There is genuine disdain: between Comer supporters and Heiner supporters, between McConnell Republicans and Bevin supporters, between Will T. Scott and fashionistas who think seersucker is played out.
They are divisions that have been around in some cases for 20 years, but now they are deeper, far more entrenched and a good reason for Kentucky Democrats to smile for the first time since before last November.
There are always concerns that a contentious primary might leave a party divided in the fall, but this primary has taken an unusually dark turn, and those fears are unusually well founded.
To be sure, there is hand-wringing within the Democratic Party. It's what they do, and it is appropriate given the state's increasingly conservative electorate.
There are concerns, born of Alison Lundergan Grimes' disastrous U.S. Senate race, that Conway did not do enough — or really anything — to define himself in the minds of voters this spring as the Republicans ripped one another to shreds.
But there are significant differences between Conway and Grimes, and it looks — at least right now — as if Conway's team has wisely kept its powder dry.
For one, Conway is better known at the start of the general election than Grimes was.
Second, McConnell was attacking Grimes with ads defining her as an agent of President Barack Obama at the same time McConnell was fending off Bevin. Republicans in this contest didn't have that luxury, throwing weak shade at Conway while focusing the lion's share of their efforts at destroying one another.
Third, Conway has been running for more than a year, but he has hardly broken the bank with fundraising. He did not enjoy the early infusion of cash that Grimes had at her disposal. In a super PAC world, every penny Conway spent in the past few months would have been one cent less he would have to fight back if outside groups start roughing him up Wednesday.
Fourth, Conway has spent the majority of the past few months doing his day job, strengthening a record he can try to sell to the electorate.
Last, and perhaps most important: Why would anybody willingly expose himself to the political virus that has infected Kentucky this year?
For the past month, voters have been inundated with the kind of nauseating politics that drives turnout lower and lower each year.
Sure, Conway has taken a strategic risk by keeping a low profile. But he doesn't have any mud on his shoes, while his opponent in November is covered in it.
And yes, Conway has problems.
He very well might lose a third of Democratic voters to a virtually unknown challenger Tuesday, foreshadowing the problems that are inherent to any Democrat running statewide in an increasingly conservative state. He still will have to defend himself against charges that he is an Obama Democrat in a state where the president has always suffered dismal approval ratings. And he probably will struggle to sell himself and his record in the fall because he isn't known to excel at retail politics.
But it's hard to imagine there's a political professional in the world who wouldn't rather have Conway's problems than those facing whoever climbs out of the GOP swamp.
Whether Conway has taken the smart approach during the primary season will depend largely on how he starts running Wednesday, and we won't know for months whether it was the right call.
But he is starting from a strong place, if for only one reason: Where the Republicans have been, it's hard to come back from.