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Tags: Jack Conway

Gubernatorial Talk for Conway, Labrador



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A pair of lawmakers are offering comments on their gubernatorial ambitions in the coming cycles.

Democratic attorney general Jack Conway — who ran the “Aqua Buddha” ad against Rand Paul back in 2010, attempting to make his opponent look like an insane cultist — says he’s seriously thinking of running for governor of Kentucky in 2015. Incumbent governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is term-limited.

And then the fate of immigration reform in Congress may shape whether Idaho sees a contested GOP gubernatorial primary:

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador says he’s waiting to measure the prospects of reforming immigration law in Congress before determining whether to shift gears and run for governor in 2014. GOP Gov. Butch Otter has said he is running for a third term, but has made no formal announcement.

And then there’s the White House party-crasher, Tareq Salahi, trying to get attention in Virginia by running for governor.

Tags: Jack Conway , Raul Labrador

Kentucky AG-Race Ad: ‘Barack Obama Is Destroying America.’



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The off-year elections in Kentucky appear a bit disappointing to Republicans so far, if recent polling is to be believed.

Beshear leads Republican David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith by a 55-28-10 margin. The last time PPP polled the race was just before last fall’s election, and then, Beshear was up only 44-35 on Williams, with Galbraith not polled. Beshear has a 57-30 approval margin, up from 48-34 last October.

The differences over the last ten months are many. For one, Republican turnout seems a little depressed compared to last fall, which is to be expected after a strong showing by conservatives in the midterm. But Beshear is also up from 66% to 78% of Democrats, who make up 55% of the electorate, and from 15% to 19% of the GOP, with Williams down a corresponding amount. Williams has also declined from 16% to 8% with Democrats, and remains with only a quarter of independents.

A three-way race for State Treasurer is also helping incumbent Democrat Todd Hollenbach to a strong lead, with 43% to Republican K.C. Crosbie’s 28% and Libertarian Ken Moellman’s 16%. Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has a decent 47-36 lead in his bid for another term over Republican Todd P’Pool.

You’ll remember Conway as the man who, in last year’s Senate race, told America that only he was willing to stand up to the reign of terror of religious minorities like Aquabuddhists.

Todd P’Pool is going after Conway by tying him to Obama as explicitly as he can, and the opening line of his ad is about as anti-Obama as it gets: “Barack Obama is destroying America.”

The closing line: “Todd P’Pool lives Kentucky’s values . . . not Barack Obama’s.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Jack Conway , Todd P'Pool

State Employee Shakedowns in Kentucky?



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At the moment, the outlook for Republicans in the Kentucky governor’s face looks pretty grim:

Gov. Steve Beshear holds a commanding 24-point lead over his challenger, Senate President David Williams, in Kentucky’s governor’s race, according to the latest Courier-Journal/WHAS11 Bluegrass Poll.

The poll found that Beshear leads Williams 52 percent to 28 percent and that the incumbent governor is ahead in all but three demographic areas. Independent Gatewood Galbraith is a distant third with 9 percent of the vote.

Conducted by SurveyUSA, the poll is based on computerized and live telephone interviews carried out from July 22– to 27. It includes the responses of 512 likely voters in the Nov. 8 governor’s race and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

That was the news Sunday; today brings a development that may well shake up the race:

A veteran state employee has alleged in a letter delivered to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office Monday that some government workers were threatened with termination if they did not contribute to Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s re-election campaign.

Rodney Young is a psychologist with the Department of Juvenile Justice and made the accusation in a letter dated July 27. Hoping to bring attention to “abuses of authority,” Young lists a dozen employees in the department who he alleges were threatened, adding an aide of the governor told his co-workers last year that they could lose their jobs if they didn’t give a $500 donation to Beshear’s re-election bid.

“In my 27 years in state government, I have never seen such an audacious and systematic approach to using state government as an arm to raise money for a political campaign,” Young wrote. “It is my hope that you will use the information in this letter to bring attention to this activity and to permanently separate public service from political solicitations.”

A Conway spokesperson says the attorney general’s office has received the complaint and will handle it according to their investigative protocol.

Note the complaint predates the poll.

You remember Jack Conway; he’s the Democratic Senate candidate who accused of Rand Paul of Aqua Buddha in a late ad last year – an ad called “ugly” and “demagogic” by notable right-wingers like, er, Ezra Klein. Yes, this is precisely the fellow who I want investigating allegations of election shenanigans on the part of Democratic candidates.

UPDATE: Hmmm. A pattern?

Dr. Patrick Sheridan confirmed to Pure Politics that this winter he received a phone call to his unlisted home number from Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Deputy Secretary Charles Geveden, who asked him to write a $1,000 check to Beshear’s campaign.

Sheridan said he wrote a $500 check to the Beshear campaign with a note attached. The note said the check was being written in response to a personal call from Geveden.

Some time later, his check was returned in the mail, Sheridan said.

Sheridan is a long-time non-merit employee in the cabinet. His name was one of 13 listed in a letter from another Justice Cabinet employee alleging strong-arm tactics by Geveden. Dr. Rodney Young sent that letter to the Republican Party of Kentucky, which has asked for an investigation.

It is against state law for an administration to target appointed state workers for political fundraising unless those solicitations are made “as part of an overall plan to contact voters not identified as state employees,” the law says.

Tags: David Williams , Jack Conway , Kentucky , Steve Beshear

It’s Primary Day in Kentucky!



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It is primary day for Kentucky. The highest profile race in the state this year is the one for governor; Democrat incumbent Steve Beshear is running for another term and faces no primary challengers; on the GOP side, the competitors are Jefferson County Clerk  Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw, Phil Moffett, and State Senate President David L. Williams.

Williams is the favorite. Polls are open until 6 p.m., and turnout is expected to be low.

There are no primary challengers in the state attorney general race, but it’s worth keeping an eye on; the incumbent Democrat is Jack Conway, who ran against Rand Paul in last year’s U.S. Senate race and who tried to save his flailing campaign with a ridiculously demagogic commercial that accused Paul of being an Aquabuddhist. After that, I just can’t see the headline, “JACK CONWAY LOSES” enough times.

Tags: Barbara Holsclaw , David Williams , Jack Conway , Phil Moffett

The Candidates Are Set in Kentucky



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Kentucky’s filing deadline for public office has passed. While there are seven statewide races on the ballot, the governor’s race will make the biggest splash outside the state:

Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, while Republican front-runner and state Senate President David Williams will have two. In the Republican primary, Williams and his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw, running with retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr.; and Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman whose running mate is state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.

Jack Conway, last seen running a horrific ad that suggested his opponent was a lunatic cultist and losing to Rand Paul, is running for reelection as attorney general. His Republican opponent will be Todd P’Pool, and no, that is not a typo. Suggested chant: “The P’Pool! United! Will never be defeated!”

Tags: David Williams , Jack Conway , Steve Beshear , Todd P'Pool

Smear Ads Are Rarely the Path to Divine Enlightenment



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You may recall that I loathed Jack Conway’s “Aqua Buddha” ad and his entire approach of suggesting that Rand Paul is not a Christian, and then immediately insisting that he wasn’t questioning Paul’s religious beliefs.

Apparently the Aqua Buddha has sent some bad karma Conway’s way.

Public Policy Polling puts Paul up, 53-40.

Fox News/Rasmussen puts Paul up, 50-43. More significantly, “While Paul was viewed favorably by 48 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent of voters, only 38 percent had a positive impression of Conway while 51 percent held an unfavorable view.”

Tags: Jack Conway , Rand Paul

‘Finally, in Jack Conway, we have a candidate who is willing to stand up to the menace of Aquabuddhists.’



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In this morning’s Jolt, you can see Jack Conway has rapidly become one of my very least favorite candidates this cycle.

Finally, a Candidate Who Will Drive the Aquabuddhists Out of America

Mason Dixon offers their first poll of Kentucky, and so we can’t compare this to a previous one by the firm to get a sense of the trend. But the 5-point lead they see seems rather modest compared to polls in August and September, when Rand Paul often led by double digits.

And the Lexington Herald-Leader thinks that the modest lead might just be a result of that infamous ad that made many Democrats cringe: “The number of undecided voters could reflect uncertainty about a TV ad Conway launched last weekend regarding Paul’s behavior in the 1980s as a member of a secret society at Baylor University called the NoZe Brotherhood, said University of Louisville political science professor Jasmine Farrier. The ad, which has gotten mixed reaction from many Democrats, raised questions about Paul’s religious beliefs and referred to an anonymous woman who alleged Paul tied her up and forced her to worship a god called ‘Aqua Buddha.’ Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon making his first bid for public office, has said the accusations are ‘all lies’ and ‘completely untrue.’ The anonymous woman, who has been quoted by The Washington Post and GQ magazine, has disputed Paul’s assertion.”

One of the disturbing trends in modern politics is how some figures can vehemently deny doing something while they’re still doing it. (I think I blame the audacity of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”) Jack Conway’s defense, when local media asked him about the fallout of the ad was, “When asked about any fallout from Sunday’s debate or the recent attack ad about Rand Paul’s college days, Conway says he’s not questioning Paul’s faith.”

The ad text, once again:

Mr. CONWAY: I’m Jack Conway. I approve this message.

Narrator: Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a hoax that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ? Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his god was Aqua Buddha? Why does Rand Paul now want to end all federal faith-based initiatives, and even end the deduction for religious charities? Why are there so many questions about Rand Paul?

The whole ad is asking questions about Paul’s faith, and then Conway has the stones to add, “In the days remaining he wants to focus on the issues, especially jobs.”

And then the earth opened up, the Devil himself popped out of the crevice, saluted Conway for his brazen style, and carried him away. Okay, not really, but that’s what should have happened.

Well, presuming the ad is in part responsible for the narrower margin, we can thank the people of Kentucky for providing all of us a valuable lesson. Unsubstantiated charges and attacks on an opponent’s religion — particularly the suggestion that he’s not a real Christian, or that his true faith is strange or alien or perhaps some sort of pagan blasphemy — always work.  And thank goodness for us, huh? Finally, in Jack Conway, we have a candidate who is willing to stand up to the menace of Aquabuddhists. If there’s anything American stands for, it’s looking at strange, perhaps entirely fictitious religions and declaring their practitioners unfit for public office. Isolating and demonizing people of different religious beliefs has a long and proud history from Armenia to the Balkans to Constantinople. If Jack Conway is this tough on Aquabuddhists, imagine how tough he’ll be on Mormons.

I hope you’re proud, Democrats. Way to go.

Tags: Jack Conway , Rand Paul

Don’t Go Away Mad, Jack Conway. Just Go Away.



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From this morning’s Jolt:

Go Away, Conway.

It’s never fun to lose a race. And at this point in the election cycle, many, many candidates know, deep down, it’s coming. When they look in the mirror, first thing in the morning, unshaven and bleary-eyed from the previous late night’s increasingly tense meetings and increasingly desperate fundraising calls . . . the reflection whispers that they’re going to lose on November 2.

(SPOILER ALERT: Among those experiencing a variation of this slow-motion doom right now are Joe Sestak, Lee Fisher, Russ Feingold, Dan Onorato, Dan Maes, and Charlie Crist. Carl Paladino does not experience this; every morning his reflection stares back and him and cackles madly, and after a moment he joins in.)

Also probably under a perpetual black cloud is Jack Conway, allegedly once a Democrat with a promising future. Kentucky hasn’t been a particularly warm environment for Democrats in recent years, but he’s been state attorney general, and that’s usually a natural stepping stone to higher office, helping to build a resume full of busting gangs and abusive nursing homes and whatnot. And after winning the primary, he’s handed an absolute gift; one day after winning the GOP nomination, Rand Paul offers a long, thoughtful, philosophically complicated and multilayered answer on the value of the Civil Rights Act. When asked whether one supports the CRA, the correct answer for anyone ever aspiring to high office is “Yes.”

And Jack Conway is going to be known as the guy who didn’t merely fail to beat Rand Paul; he has never come that close! Somewhere Martha Coakley is turning to Creigh Deeds and scoffing, “even I could have gotten some traction with that.”

When you know you’re going down, you can go down in one of three ways. One, you can lose with dignity; try to preserve the possibility of some future bid. You can also throw caution to the wind; there was something liberated about Bob Dole in his final weeks of the campaign, and he actually closed some ground. Or you can just attempt to burn the place down on your way out.

Jack Conway has decided to follow that last path, offering a late attack ad that basically suggests that Rand Paul is not merely not a Christian, but such a weirdo with so many troubling stories in his past that he might as well be a member of the Hale-Bopp Comet Suicide Cult. Of course, the ad conflates Paul’s garden-variety wariness about faith-based initiatives, fearing the hand of the state meddling in matters from above, with a variety of outlandish, unverified tales from anonymous stories.

. . . William Jacobson, writing at Legal Insurrection, observes, “Democrat Jack Conway’s advertisement asserting that there are ‘questions’ about Republican Rand Paul’s Christianity, raises in interesting issue. Substitute Barack Obama for Rand Paul, tweak a few of the allegations, and you would have an advertisement as to which the mainstream media and left-wing blogosphere would scream ‘Racist!!!’ and ‘Islamophobic!!!’ But it’s Rand Paul, so there is a mix of opinion on the left, with many taking the view that all is fair in politics, including questioning someone’s Christianity. The Internet has a long memory.”

Tags: Jack Conway , Rand Paul

Is It Too Early to Call a Race?



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The DSCC cancels their advertising buys in Kentucky that would have helped their man Jack Conway against the GOP’s Rand Paul.

Of course, it’s not over until it’s over, etcetera, etcetera.

But let’s face it. If the DSCC doesn’t see much point in advertising, then it means they don’t put much stock in that poll that had Paul up by 2. And if that one’s an outlier, then the other ones putting Paul up 7 to 15 offer a more realistic look at the electorate.

So shortly after midnight, October 1, the Campaign Spot Decision Desk can now project Republican Rand Paul the winner of the Kentucky Senate race. 

I exaggerate. Slightly.

UPDATE: A reader in the television business is telling me that the DSCC, recognizing the morale and narrative impact that the cancellation is having, is scrambling to re-buy the ad time. So how much are they willing to spend?

Tags: Jack Conway , Rand Paul

Some Expect a More Heavily Democratic Electorate in 2010 Than 2008? Really?



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My problem with PPP’s North Carolina poll is replicated in their Kentucky poll, showing Rand Paul tied with Jack Conway, with 43 percent each.

In 2008, exit polls showed Kentucky’s electorate splitting 47 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican, 15 percent independent. Today’s PPP poll splits 52 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican, 11 percent independent. (They also have a slightly more female sample than 2008; in the last presidential election it split 54–46; in their sample it splits 55–45.)

Democrats will make up a significantly larger share of the electorate in what is largely regarded as a good year for the GOP? I suppose it is possible that the controversy surrounding Rand Paul’s remarks might drive some Republicans to stay home. But enough for a five percent swing when there’s a consensus among pollsters that Obama’s approval rating is pretty darn low in the Bluegrass State? Color me skeptical.

I don’t doubt that Rand Paul will have a tougher time this year than your average Republican. But I have a hard time believing that he’s going to single-handedly repel GOP voters eager to send a message to Washington.

Tags: Jack Conway , Rand Paul

Quick, Good News for Rand Paul, Joe Sestak



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A primary bounce that’s good for the GOP:

Rand Paul, riding the momentum of his big Republican Primary win on Tuesday, now posts a 25-point lead over Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, but there’s a lot of campaigning to go.

A primary bounce that’s bad for the GOP:

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak’s victory over longtime Senator Arlen Specter for his party’s nomination Tuesday has given him a bounce in support in Pennsylvania’s general election for U.S. Senate. The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Sestak picking up 46 percent support over Republican nominee Pat Toomey’s 42 percent.

Tags: Jack Conway , Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey , Rand Paul

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