The Chatter: Conway hires campaign manager; Pawlenty meets with Ky. fundraiser; and legislators' education

06/13/2011 04:46 PM

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has finally inked a campaign manager, Melissa Wideman, who will start next month, Wideman told Pure Politics in a phone interview.

Wideman most recently worked on the campaigns of former U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, who was first elected in 2008 to represent Ohio’s First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati. She also worked on Driehaus’ unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2010.

Wideman will officially start with the campaign in July, but is doing advance work already.

Conway faces Republican Todd P’Pool in the November election.

Pawlenty meets with GOP fund-raiser Knight

While in Kentucky last week to speak at the National Shooting Sports Foundation conference, Republican candidate for president Tim Pawlenty met with GOP fund-raiser Kelly Knight.

Knight and coal company owner Joe Craft hosted Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, at a private dinner in Lexington Wednesday night. Also attending the dinner were other prominent Republicans, including candidate for governor and Senate President David Williams.

When contacted, Knight said that wasn’t a signal that she had picked a presidential candidate support.

“We will be hosting additional presidential candidates,” she said.

Knight served as a fund-raiser in Kentucky for 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, while also raising money for other Kentucky Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Are you smarter than a legislator?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has compiled the average education level of state legislators in all 50 states and turned into a nice map to highlight the results.

The highest ranking is California, with 90% of state lawmakers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The lowest state is New Hampshire, where only 53 percent of state lawmakers have bachelor’s degrees.

Kentucky came in 23rd, with 77% of state lawmakers having at least a bachelor’s degree. And Kentucky also is higher than the national average when it comes to lawmakers who have degrees higher than a bachelor’s degree.

Nearly half of lawmakers have more than a bachelor’s degree. And the college most lawmakers attended was the University of Kentucky. About 37% of Kentucky’s legislators claim UK as its alma mater.

Governor’s communications director moves to campaign

Katie Dailinger, who has served as director of communications and policy for Gov. Steve Beshear, has moved to be communications director for Beshear’s re-election campaign, according to a news release.

The governor promoted Kerri Richardson, spokeswoman and deputy communications director, to replace Dailinger in the governor’s office.

Earlier this spring, Beshear bolstered the governor’s press office with the hiring of Terry Sebastian, former communications director for state Auditor Crit Luallen.

- Kenny Colston and Ryan Alessi

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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