Jack Conway invokes west Kentucky roots on campaign trail

10/29/2015 08:01 PM

POWDERLY — Although he hails from Louisville, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway touched on his family’s history in the western part of the state during a campaign stop in Muhlenberg County, where he addressed about 75 retired mine workers on Thursday.

Before launching into his campaign platform, Conway spoke of his family history in nearby Union County, where he father grew up on a farm and his uncle ran a seed business.

The Democrat continued to press his campaign talking points before the friendly crowd, saying he would look to expand early childhood education programs and defend the state from right-to-work legislation.

Pure Politics spoke with Ray Atherton of Beech Creek and John Chappell of Drakesboro, who explained they’re casting their ballots for Conway in part because of concerns with Republican candidate Matt Bevin and issues he has supported, like right-t- work legislation.

“Matt Bevin is for everything that we’re against,” Chappell said.

Conway has poured millions on the state’s airwaves to define Bevin, but that’s come at a cost to his retail campaign. That may have something to do with what’s expected to be a dismal turnout on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press and CNHI News, just 14,000 Kentuckians had voted absentee as of Monday.

That’s nearly half of the 27,000 absentee voters by the same point in 2011, when 28.6 percent of registered voters gave Democratic Governor Steve Beshear a second term in his 20 point win.

“I hope that Democrats, independents and Republicans vote, and regardless of who they’re going to vote for I hope they go to the polls,” Conway said. “People have fought and died for the right to vote.”

“I’m feeling tremendous energy on the ground,” Conway continued. “Everywhere I go we’re getting good crowds. We’re getting a lot of support.”

Conway received a boost to his campaign in the latest Bluegrass Poll that put him ahead of Bevin by 5 percent, and he says he has more recent internal polling showing him in the lead.

The Bluegrass Poll shows Conway trailing Bevin by 2 points in the 1st Congressional District and 13 points in the 2nd Congressional District, but the attorney general says he has plenty of support in the western Kentucky region.

Bevin’s campaign questioned the accuracy of the poll given last year’s lopsided victory for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who won a sixth term by more than 15 points. The same polling group had McConnell up by 5 percent days before the election.

Ben Hartman, Bevin’s campaign manager, said in a statement that the survey shows “Jack Conway has failed to convince Kentuckians that he should be our next Governor.”

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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