Conway campaign adds staff, in process of hiring manager in wake of midterms, senior advisor says

11/18/2014 07:36 PM

Attorney General Jack Conway remains the only prominent Democrat in the gubernatorial field, and he’s beefed up his campaign staff as others in his party consider a run for the office in 2015, senior advisor Mark Riddle said Tuesday.

Conway added Matt Osborne and Scott Gale, who both worked on Gov. Steve Beshear’s campaigns, as his campaign’s finance director and fundraising consultant, Riddle said.

The campaign also hired Jefrey Pollock, president of Global Strategy Group, as Conway’s pollster, Doc Sweitzer, founder of The Campaign Group, as his media consultant and Joe Hansen, partner of Ambrosino, Muir, Hansen & Crounse, as his direct-mail consultant, according to Riddle.

Osborne and Gale “led Gov. Beshear’s record-breaking fundraising efforts in 2007 and 2011,” Riddle said, adding that Sweitzer, Pollock and Hansen bring a wealth of national expertise to Conway’s gubernatorial bid. The campaign is also in the process of hiring a day-to-day manager, Riddle said.

“We feel like we’re melding together people with great Kentucky experience but also great national talent,” he told Pure Politics. “… Now that we’re post-midterm, our goals are really build out an infrastructure to run a governor’s campaign and a modern governor’s campaign, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.

Riddle said the campaign has worked to garner political and financial support, touting endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and a plethora of labor unions, among other backers. Conway’s team expects to reach $2 million raised by the Jan. 27 filing deadline, Riddle said, noting the campaign has raised about $1.5 million since entering the race in May.

He also spoke about how the Nov. 4 midterm election results, in which state House Democrats retained their 54-46 majority in the chamber while Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell bested Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by more than 15 points, bode well for Conway’s gubernatorial bid.

Kentucky, he said, “is a unique state politically.”

“I often say we’re both a red state and a blue state,” Riddle said. “We’re not one of these purple states or other things that are talked about by the commentators on TV. If you look at our state elections for the last 30 years we’ve had one Republican governor. If you look at our federal elections we’ve had one Democratic federal senator, Sen. Ford.

“… I saw a fascinating number in one of the polls, one of the myriad of polls that 51 percent of Kentuckians view themselves as ticket-splitters. We’re not really an ideological state, and so people tend to view local politics and federal politics differently.”

The interview with Riddle can be seen here:

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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