Loose Ends: Hangovers linger from both U.S. Senate primaries

07/09/2010 09:07 AM

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway said Thursday that he and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo are trying to set up a “face-to-face” meeting for as early as next week to try to deal with the myriad lingering issues between the two camps that has kept Mongiardo away from backing Conway.

CNHI’s Ronnie Ellis first reported last week that Mongiardo likely has campaign debt left over and that Conway’s camp may have offered some help with that. Here’s what Ellis wrote:

We won’t know until campaign finance reports are filed, but it’s believed Mongiardo’s campaign has a debt and he may want help from Conway in retiring it.  I’ve been told it’s not large and that Conway agreed to help raise money for Mongiardo in exchange for the Mongiardo campaign’s dropping its call for a re-canvass of votes which might have delayed contributions from national donors. But word is Conway hasn’t delivered yet and that may be holding up a Mongiardo endorsement.

But Conway denied personally making that offer or knowing if any of his staff of consultants did.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he told cn|2 Politics as he walked out of the Downtown Marriott in Louisville Thursday after his first forum with Republican candidate Rand Paul. “There’s no quid pro quo. The suggestion that I would somehow trade money for an endorsement, I find that distasteful.”

But as Ellis pointed out in his piece, “Conway needs Mongiardo … He’s not strong in rural western Kentucky. He can’t beat Paul just by rolling up huge margins in his home base of Jefferson County as he did in defeating Mongiardo.”

For Mongiardo, it was a particularly brutal loss after being ahead in the polls for much of the primary. He ended up losing by more than 4,000 votes (229,433 to 225,259). And that came six years after Mongiardo, then a state Senator from Hazard, narrowly missed pulling off a national upset of Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, whose retirement has opened the seat that Conway and Paul are fighting over.

Left off the invitation list

Republicans, including Paul, will have a unity rally Saturday in Northern Kentucky — the home area of Paul’s rival in the GOP primary, Secretary of State Trey Grayson. It will be held at the Erlanger hotel in which Grayson had his election night event and will feature a host of key Republican speakers, the Northern Kentucky Enquirer’s Amanda Van Benschoten reported this week.

Uniting the party after the difficult primary is the theme of the morning event — except inviting Grayson, himself, was clearly an afterthought.

Grayson first received a message from Paul inviting him to the rally Wednesday night after Van Benschoten’s article ran, confirmed Les Fugate, Grayson’s spokesman. The two former rivals traded phone messages, and Grayson is trying to work out his schedule to attend the event in support of Paul, Fugate said. UPDATE 11:12 a.m. — Grayson is confirmed to attend, Fugate said in an update.

Those already set to speak include Bunning, who endorsed Paul in April, U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Hebron, who stayed neutral in the primary but pledged to back the GOP nominee, and state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright, who backed Grayson in the primary.

- Ryan Alessi


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.