Conway tries to show he's built Ford tough

05/14/2010 06:44 PM

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway started off  the last weekend of campaigning before the primary with a key partner on the campaign trail Friday: Wendell Ford, the former U.S. senator and governor.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway

The two spent part of the day meeting voters, including a stop at the Frankfort Shoney’s.

“I’m doing something I don’t normally do, which is to endorse in the primary,” Ford, 85, told about 30 Conway supporters at the restaurant. “I believe he not only has the right attitude toward the things that are necessary for this state, he has the temperament to do the things that we want done by bringing people together.”

Conway, and his chief supporters such as state Auditor Crit Luallen, have used the argument that Democrats need to take back “Wendell Ford’s Senate seat.”

“It really isn’t, it’s your seat,” he said nodding toward the people in the room. “I occupied it for a while. But it’s been 4,157 days since that seat had been turned over to Jim Bunning, and I think it’s time to get it back.”

The Ford endorsement was one of, if not, the biggest nod of approval Conway has received in the primary. Ford remains popular with the old guard of the Democratic Party and voters around his home area of Owensboro, especially.

Conway recalled going to Washington in 1987 as part of a youth leadership program and spending 30 minutes with Ford, who gave him a tour and talked with him. Conway said the other U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, spent “30 seconds” with him.

Coincidently, McConnell made a rare endorsement during this spring’s GOP Senate primary in backing Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is trailing in the polls to Rand Paul, the Bowling Green eye surgeon.

Tuesday’s elections will prove whether those moves by the veteran politicians were helpful to Conway and Grayson, respectively.

Regardless of the outcome of the primary, Ford said he expects Democrats to come together and shake off the tough talk Conway and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo have exchanged.

“We’ll be a family of Democrats,” Ford said. “And you know what happens when you jump on family? You fight that much harder.”

Keep checking cn|2 Politics over the weekend for more updates from the campaign trail.

- Ryan Alessi


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