Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Conway, supposed leader until the end, comes up a loser

By Cheyene Miller
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Despite polling about 5 percentage points ahead for the entire governor’s race, Democratic candidate Jack Conway came up 8.7 points short in his bid for Kentucky governor.

“Folks, tonight was not the result that we had hoped for, but is a result that we respect,” Conway said in his concession speech at the Kentucky Democratic Party election-night event in Frankfort.  

Conway said that once the result was final, he had a congratulatory phone conversation with his Republican opponent Matt Bevin.

“It was a cordial phone call,” said Conway, who said he told Bevin “that if he ever needed any assistance that this Democrat is at his disposal.”

The Democratic crowd seemed to lose a little morale each time the election results were updated on the monitors.

“It’s surprising, but it doesn’t really bother me.  We live in a great country (and) we have the freedom to do this so however it turns out, that’s what the people chose and I support that,” state Rep. Dean Schamore of Hardinsburg said as the final results were being tallied.

Schamore said he doesn’t necessarily consider Bevin to be unqualified for the job. “He’s just not my choice for governor,” Schamore said.  “I’m sure he’s a good person.”

Steve Crisp, a telecommunications businessman from Georgetown, said that he is a Republican who voted Democratic Tuesday because he thought Conway was “the guy for the job.” He added, “I really just don’t know a lot about Mr. Bevin.”

Corey Hyde, a University of Kentucky computer science senior from London, said Conway’s loss was “not quite what I expected.” Hyde said his boyfriend was a union employee and feared a Bevin victory because Bevin wants a "right to work" law than bans labor contracts that require all employees to pay union dues or fees.

In his speech, Conway showed gratitude to the people of Kentucky he had met during his campaign. “You’ve opened your homes, you’ve opened your hearts.  You’ve made me a better person in so many ways,” he said.

Conway said he respected Kentucky voters and their decision, and thanked them for the “tremendous honor of serving as the state’s attorney general. He also thanked Gov. Steve Beshear, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, his campaign team, and his family.

“Tonight I consider myself the most blessed man on the face of the earth,” said Conway in regard to his family.  During his speech he turned toward his two young daughters and said “Daddy’s going to be home a lot.”

Conway focused much of his campaign on education as well as challenging Bevin on Kynect, Kentucky’s private health insurance market established under the federal health reform, and the Medicaid expansion.

Bevin will replace current term-limited Beshear, Conway’s fellow Democrat. His victory represents a change in Kentucky’s longstanding tradition of electing Democrats to the governor’s mansion; they have held it for 40 of the last 44 years.

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