Conway still working on paying down Senate debt, won't recoup his own $600,000

01/27/2011 07:03 PM

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, who is preparing for a re-election bid, said he has cut in half the debt to vendors left over from last year’s U.S. Senate race but won’t get back much of his own money he put in the race.

Conway ended the campaign with $100,000 of debt to vendors from the campaign, including $72,000 to his campaign’s general consulting firm Grunwald Communications headed by Mandy Grunwald, according to his Dec. 6, 2010 report to the Federal Election Commission.

Most of those bills came into the campaign after the election, Conway said on Thursday’s edition of Pure Politics. “There were some unexpected charges,” he said.

Weeks after the election, he sent a message to supporters asking them to contribute to pay off those bills and said he has the debt to vendors “under $50,000.”

Conway said he didn’t expect to recoup more than $600,000 of his own funds he put into his Senate campaign. In total, he put in more than $650,000 but still had more than $630,000 outstanding, according to the last report.

“I don’t think I’ll get that back,” he said.

Conway’s opponent in last spring’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, said on Pure Politics last week he’s still working on raising money to repay money he put into his unsuccessful campaign.

He also answered more questions about the infamous Aqua Buddha ad. He talked about that ad at his re-election announcement last week, explaining that he first saw it the night before it aired at a Paducah hotel while on the road campaigning.

“There was an argument over the ensuing hours about, ‘OK do we go with this or not?’” he said on Pure Politics. “There were members of my team saying OK, this is our best-testing thing on Rand Paul.

“What that ad did was it allowed him to assume the role of the victim and my campaign should have never allowed him to assume that role,” Conway added.

The frustrating part regarding the Aqua Buddha ad, he said as the interview continued off camera, was not “having a process” to review, discuss and debate the effects of it. “I was ill-served by my team. Ultimately, it was my decision. So that’s on me,“ he said.

Conway said in his news conference Friday that he will bring in a new campaign team for his re-election run.

He said  that he is close to hiring a polling firm. And he will likely hire a part-time campaign staffer this spring but wait until the summer to bring in a full-time campaign manager, Conway said.

- Ryan Alessi


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