Jack Conway set to announce 2015 ticket for governor with Rep. Sannie Overly

05/05/2014 04:12 PM

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway will announce as early as Tuesday that he’s officially in the 2015 governor’s race and has selected state Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris as his running mate.

In Overly, Conway will be joining forces with a Central Kentucky legislator who in 2013 became the first woman to serve as a member of the state House majority leadership team.

“I think that’s a really strong ticket,” said Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, whose nephew Drew Jenkins works in Conway’s office.

Jenkins said Overly’s background as an attorney, engineer and policy expert lends heft to an already “formidable” ticket.

Overly, the House Democratic caucus chairwoman, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Early polling that has been passed among Democrats shows Conway begins with the highest name recognition among prospective Democratic candidates, said Sen. R.J. Palmer. Others considering the race include state Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Conway has had mixed success running statewide, winning the attorney general’s race in 2007 but losing by 10 points to Rand Paul in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

“He’s shown that he can bounce back from that with his election in 2011,” said Palmer, the Senate Democratic leader.

Neither Palmer nor Jenkins said they knew how or exactly when Conway and Overly would announce but that the official unveiling of the ticket was imminent.

Conway and Overly will become the first pair of Democrats in the governor’s race and second ticket in the 2015 race, following Republicans Hal Heiner and K.C. Crosbie.

That’s a bit on the early side for some Democratic lawmakers, who have to get through their own races before they pick sides in next year’s governor’s race.

“As a candidate myself, it’s a little hard to stomach. We have to complete this election cycle,” Webb said.

A spokeswoman for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is the major focus for many Democrats in this fall’s election, declined to comment.

Palmer said he doesn’t think the Conway-Overly ticket will detract from fundraising for either the U.S. Senate race or legislative races.

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