Democrats fuel party faithful as part of weekend pre-election outreach

10/31/2015 02:38 PM

LOUISVILLE — Democrats and Republicans in all corners of the state were rallying party faithful on Saturday morning in a last-minute effort to reach voters before Tuesday’s election.

In the Pleasure Ridge Park section of Louisville, Democratic candidates for constitutional office and their surrogates spoke with a crowd of around 200 over biscuits and gravy at state Rep. Joni Jenkins’s, D-Shively, annual breakfast Saturday morning.

As the elderly crowd fueled up for their day, Jenkins, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and retired firefighter Greg Dearing laid out the stakes of this election to the partisan crowd.

“This is a directional election that if we don’t put the Conway ticket and the rest of the Democrats in we’re going so far backwards it’s scary,” Dearing said.

Without mentioning Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin by name, the speakers spoke out against the ideas of their opponent and called on those in attendance to help knock on doors and urge friends to get out and vote in what’s being predicted to be a low-turnout affair.

Democratic candidate for governor Jack Conway began his Saturday in Pikeville at a Democratic breakfast at Landmark Inn before moving on to Mt. Sterling, Winchester and Georgetown, but his wife Elizabeth and two daughters Eva and Alex took their turns revving up the crowd.

Four-year old Alex took part in the family business, taking up the microphone to tell the crowd they should vote for Jack Conway.

“Why should they vote for daddy?” Elizabeth asked.

“Because he will help the people of Kentucky,” Alex responded.

Elizabeth called on those in attendance to fuel up on the breakfast buffet before heading into the final 72 hours of campaigning before Election Day.

“We need all the energy we can get because this is going to be a close one,” Conway said. “So we need people knocking on doors, making the phone calls, talking to your friends, your neighbors, telling them this is an election that’s too important to sit out. Jack needs your vote. We’ve got to come out in Jefferson County strong.”

The event and call to get out and vote wasn’t just for the top of the ticket. Democratic candidate for attorney general Andy Beshear laid out his objectives from the podium.

“This has been a two-year campaign, but some things are worth fighting for for two years,” Beshear said, voice cracking after consecutive days delivering his pitch on the campaign trail.

Beshear spoke of his children, saying they would have shied away from the mic, and laid out his plans to crack down on child abuse as well as prevent drug abuse and scams against seniors if elected.

Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner Jean-Marie Lawson Spann was also in attendance for Saturday morning’s breakfast.

Lawson Spann has been trailing in recent polling, but she says she is seeing momentum at rallies and feels confident that she will be elected Kentucky’s first female agriculture commissioner.

The candidate has shifted strategy in recent months, advocating for the labeling of genetically modified organisms in food and on behalf of medical marijuana for Kentuckians suffering from a variety of ailments, from glaucoma to epilepsy.

Lawson Spann’s position on medical marijuana has put in her in opposition with the top of her ticket. Conway has said he opposes medicinal cannabis.

“We have Kentuckians suffering from various illnesses and we need to get them this treatment so they can get better,” Lawson Spann said. “That’s what this is all about — helping our neighbors, helping our families, helping our children get to our seniors.

“You know, the medical community I look forward to working with them to help make this happen, and I look forward to Jack Conway being our next governor and if you listen to what he’s saying he wants to listen to the medical community.”

When asked if marijuana should be grown in Kentucky and if the crop should be overseen by the Department of Agriculture, Lawson Spann said, “It’s something to look at down the road,” adding that Kentuckians need the medical treatment now.

Lawson Spann’s 4-month-old son Lee was on hand for the breakfast on Sunday, and the candidate said her family is a main reason she is supporting the labeling of GMO foods in Kentucky.

“I want to know what’s in the food that I’m feeding my son,” Lawson Spann said. “On day one as Kentucky’s next commissioner of agriculture we will work to get that label on there.”

Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was at an event in Paducah Saturday morning, but her husband Andrew and father Jerry Lundergan attended in her stead. Treasurer candidate Rick Nelson and Auditor Adam Edelen were also on the campaign trail Saturday morning.

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@twcnews.com.

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