The Republican gubernatorial candidates appear on KET Monday night at 8 pm to debate each other in what will be the biggest event of the race so far.
Governor Fletcher doesn't need to score a knockout punch, but he will have to talk with authority about tax modernization, the projected surplus, Medicaid, roads and private sector jobs to avoid taking any body blows himself.
Anne Northup needs very much to land a knockout punch, but she better appear not to be fighting at all and, instead, must go heavy on a positive, detailed message.
Billy Harper stands to gain the most ground in the horse race if Northup and Fletcher get tied up. I think, realistically, Harper comes out of this stronger if he demonstrates conclusively that he belongs on the same stage as his competitors. Still has a way to go to get into the mix, but could easily pick up a few points. Harper's role is to appear at-ease and on-message but not comical or dogmatic. If he pulls that off, the race for second place could get interesting.