Mongiardo concedes primary race to Conway

05/18/2010 10:31 PM

Dan Mongiardo speaks with the media on primary eve

Updated 10:31 p.m.: Mongiardo went on to say during his concession speech that he was the kid with the “funny last name in Eastern Kentucky” growing up. When he was in the fourth grade, he never dreamed grow up to be “a physician and a three term State Senator. They would have laughed me out of Perry County.”

“I will continue I can do what I can improve my community. That is the least we can do.”

“What we must do is demand that Washington work for us again. We took them all on. We took on the establishment, the Courier Journal, the Herald Leader, because we believe.”

Wife Allison Patrick was at his side with four month old Katherine in her arms. The crowd of about 150 stood and cheered. At the end one man yelled out “You’re still number one!”

- Dan Dickson

Updated 10:21 p.m.:

Mongiardo says: “These one or two point races are really tough aren’t they?

I just called Jack and congratulated him. He’ll make a great candidate in the fall.”

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 10:19: Mongiardo is on stage to make remarks.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 9:43 p.m.: Too early to call? Maybe.

The race between Mongiardo and Conway is tightening up. The volume on the big screen TV in the ballroom at the Capital Plaza Hotel was turned up and a cheer erupted from the crowd when it was announced that Mongiardo was winning some counties in Western Kentucky.

A TV commentator said Conway was doing well in the so-called “Golden Triangle” (Louisville, Lexington, Northen Kentucky) but that Mongiardo was “winning everything else.” The crowd here liked that.

The band has stopped playing and the crowd seems more lively. Do they sense something? Still,it could still be a long night.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 9:19 p.m.: The gap seems to be narrowing between Mongiardo and Conway. One long-time friend of Mongiardo’s said “He’s not conceding.”

Former Governor and now State Senator Julian Carroll stopped by the Mongiardo ballroom.  He told  cn|2 Politics that Mongiardo “ran a great campaign. I am concerned that in the last days of the campaign an anonymous ad was sent out saying that he was for something he wasn’t. That may have hurt him.” The ad Carroll was referring to involved automated phone calls with messages claiming Mongiardo “sold out coal country” and backed the federal cap-and-trade bill.

Carroll went on to say that a Paul victory may actually be good for Democrats this fall. “A lot of moderate Republicans are going to have a difficult time voting for Paul because of some of his positions,” said Carroll. “It remains to be seen what the mood of the country will be six months from now.”

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 8:54 p.m.: No star power at the Mongiardo Election Night HQ in Frankfort.

Unlike his opponent, Jack Conway, who has names like Ford, Patton and Luallen at his HQ, Mongiardo has many ordinary supporters awaiting the final result in the ballroom.

About a hundred Mongiardo supporters are hanging in there. Is the large lead compiled by Conway insurmountable? We may know in the next hour.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 8:39 p.m.: Valeria Cummings Swope, a spokeswoman for the Lieutenant-Governor’s office said she “feels good about what the campaign has stood for. We in the office were not connected to the campaign obviously, but he really believes in what he has been talking about and lives it.” She predicted that it is still going to be “a long night.”

The band plays in one corner of the room and a smaller crowd than earlier in the evening occupies the other end. Not too many dejected faces, although Daniel Mongiardo is losing so far this evening.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 8:17 p.m.: Daniel Mongiardo has left the ballroom at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.

He is so far losing the Democratic Senate Primary race to Jack Conway by double digits. Still, he is optimistic, telling reporters that “Kentuckians want a voice in Washington and I’m running for change, to change the culture there.”

After the Lieutenent-Governor left the ballroom, so too did some of his supporters. The crowd is thinning a bit.

The band has struck up a lively beat and everyone who remains is hunkered down awaiting the ultimate decision of the voters.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 8:04 p.m.: Mongiardo is walking around the room saying hello and thanking supporters. He keeps getting interrupted by TV stations asking for a few minutes live on the air. He is complying with a smile.

The ballroom is getting more crowded. Will those in attendance be smiling or frowning as the evening wears on?

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 7:39 p.m.: Daniel Mongiardo has arrived in the ballroom to shake hands with supporters and to do media interviews. A few moments ago, in response to a question about him being “an outsider,” even though he is Lieutenant-Governor, Mongiardo said “I’ve always been a sort of outsider. Six years ago when no one thought anyone could beat Jim Bunning I stood up and we only lost by one percent.”

Mongiardo said he “represents people who have lost their voice. You are going to see more people come together to take back their country because we’re frustrated.

They need a champion and I’m going to be the champion of working families in this state.”

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 7:11 p.m.:

Mongiardo supporters gather at his election night HQ

The polls have officially closed all around Kentucky. Maybe 100 supporters have arrived at Mongiardo HQ at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.

They are watching returns trickle in on TVs stationed around the medium-sized ballroom. Mongiardo is expected to arrive soon to greet supporters as they all await results.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 6:36 p.m.: Mongiardo spokesman Kim Geveden says he doesn’t have a sense yet about how Fayette County will go tonight. “If Daniel can come close to breaking even in Fayette, I would be happy with that,” he said. Rural Kentucky is going to be important for Mongiardo, says Geveden, since the urban areas will likely go to Conway. “We received encouraging signs today that Daniel’s roots in rural Kentucky may pay off for us tonight, based on early results that we’ve picked up from a smattering of counties around the state.”

Kim Geveden continued, “Some counties in the east and the west give us optimism. Henderson, McCracken, Calloway and Christian Counties have been carried by Daniel. In Eastern Kentucky, Perry, Powell, Morgan, Bell Counties and maybe Floyd County, home of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, may have gone our way,” said Geveden.

A small group of supporters are now beginning to trickle in.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 5:55 p.m.:

Still quiet at Mongiardo Election Night HQ just minutes from polls closing in the eastern half of the state.

cn|2 Politics just spoke to Mongiardo campaign spokesman Kim Geveden who indicates that Jefferson County is a key for Mongiardo tonight.

It’s rival Jack Conway’s base and they expect Conway to do well there.

The Mongiardo camp believes there has not been a large Democratic turnout in Jefferson while GOP turnout has reportedly been fairly strong.

Geveden hopes Mongiardo garners at least 30% in Jefferson. If so, it might make the difference.

- Dan Dickson

Updated 5:38 p.m.: I’m posted at the Mongiardo Election Night HQ at the Capital Plaza in Frankfort. There’s a small empty stage. No supporters yet. Just media, mostly TV people, doing their 5 p.m. live shots. Daniel Mongiardo voted in Hazard this morning but has already crisscrossed the state, visiting Lexington, Richmond, Shelbyville and Louisville. He’s in route to Frankfort and is expected to come down from his hotel room to greet supporters later this evening.

- Dan Dickson

Updated at 4:55 p.m.: Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo voted in Hazard early Tuesday morning before making a flurry of Election Day stops in Central Kentucky, where his chief rival in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, Jack Conway, also did some last-minute hand-shaking.

Mongiardo worked the crowds in the Cracker Barrels in Richmond and Lexington before driving to Louisville to meet voters at the GE Electric Plant. Mongiardo has garnered strong support from union members.

He’ll be setting up his Election Night event at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.

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