Bevin, Conway face off in fiesty debate at Eastern Kentucky University

10/25/2015 10:26 PM

RICHMOND — Gubernatorial candidates Republican Matt Bevin and Democratic candidate Jack Conway met on the same stage for an hour long debate that featured the some of the sharpest exchanges of the general election.

With eight days until Kentuckians choose their next governor Bevin and Conway sparred over healthcare, marijuana before a crowd of onlookers Sunday night at the Center for the Arts on the campus as Eastern Kentucky University.

Bevin, who has been trailing in public polling, went on the offensive early and often in the hour long debate calling Conway a liar on issues of healthcare.

Conway calling the kynect health exchange “a shining example” said the people enrolled in the health exchange and Medicaid expansion now will receive healthcare in the future in a Conway administration. Conway said Bevin on the other hand would kick insured off of healthcare.

Bevin fired back saying he has “never said I’m going to kick people off Medicaid,” adding “to call kynect a shining example is another blatant lie.”

When Bevin announced his candidacy in February the GOP nominee said he would reverse the Medicaid expansion immediately, if elected. A video from that statement has been shared throughout the campaign.

During the debate, Conway retorted that a “camera caught you on your first day.” Bevin said the question he was asked has not been heard in the ads.

Here is the video from the Kentucky Democratic Party:

On Sunday, Bevin said that “people enrolled now will be enrolled in the future” under his plan to shift the population using 1115 waivers back to the federal government.

Conway cited the Deloitte report — a study commissioned by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and completed by Deloitte Consulting and the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute in February 2015 — which shows the decision to expand Medicaid coverage will create 40,000 jobs and add $30 billion to the state economy by 2021.

Bevin called the report “bologna.”

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky sponsored Sunday’s debate which was moderated by WKYT-TV anchor Bill Bryant and WLKY-TV anchor Vicki Dortch aired on broadcast stations around the commonwealth.

Independent candidate Drew Curtis did not meet the minimum 10 percent in polling criteria to participate in the debate.

There were other sharp exchanges throughout the night, but perhaps the sharpest exchanges were saved for after the debate when Bevin again initially refused to take questions from a reporter, and said his running mate Jenean Hampton “does not speak for me.”

Watch the full exchange below where Bevin eventually addresses a question from the Lexington Herald Leader’s Sam Youngman.

Bevin and Conway also debated medical marijuana with Bevin endorsing the substance for patients with debilitating seizures and other diseases.

Conway said he’d traveled the state telling students not to take drugs, and met addicts who said their drug usage started with marijuana.

Bevin said he “would sign such legislation,” but that he would “never, ever” sign legislation for recreational usage.

After the debate Conway referenced his support of cannabidiol or CBD oil which can be used to treat epilepsy, but that compound has been hard to come by in Kentucky despite its current legal status.

Bevin and Conway will meet again on Monday night for their final debate of the campaign on KET’s Kentucky Tonight with Bill Goodman.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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