Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Conway, Mongiardo to Co-Chair Grimes Campaign

With less than a week until the primary election, Democratic secretary of state candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has announced that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo will serve as statewide co-chairs of her campaign.

Grimes is seeking the party’s nomination in a closely watched race against incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear earlier this year to serve the final 11 months of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s term.

In an interview with WFPL, Grimes says she is honored the two rivals came together to support her candidacy and she believes it represents a united Democratic front heading into the May 17 primary.

“I think having Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo by my side demonstrates their confidence and belief that I’m the person that can help get that job done. That I’m the person that this state, that this party needs right now and I’m hopeful that will translate on Election Day to voters who are going into that voting booth,” she says.

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Mongiardo Files For U.S. Senate

Kentucky Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo has filed his candidacy papers for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jim Bunning.

Mongiardo is a surgeon from eastern Kentucky who narrowly lost to Bunning in 2004.

He’s one of at least four Democrats seeking the seat and has been campaigning for months. His primary opponents will include Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

Mongiardo filed his candidacy papers Thursday at the state Capitol.

Senator Bunning is not seeking re-election this year.

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Conway Comments On Mongiardo Audio Posting

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is reacting to unflattering audio purportedly of his Democratic U-S Senate opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo.

Expletive-laced audio of Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo allegedly criticizing Gov. Steve Beshear for lukewarm support of Mongiardo’s U-S Senate campaign recently appeared on the Internet.

Both Mongiardo and the governor downplayed it, saying the audio was doctored and they remain highly supportive of each other.

What does Attorney General Jack Conway think of the audio?

“I don’t get excited by these sorts of things,” he said Monday. “There are ebbs and flows in a campaign. And I’m gonna stay focused on the issue at hand and try to run the type of campaign that gives the people of Kentucky what they deserve in terms of representation for this particular U-S Senate seat.”

Conway and Mongiardo are the Democratic frontrunners in the Senate race, which also features several Republican candidates. The primary is next May.

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Beshear Dismisses Mongiardo Tape As "Prankstership"

From Lisa Autry, Kentucky Public Radio/WKYU, Bowling Green

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is shrugging off a recording of his Lt. Governor that’s been posted on numerous internet sites.

Dan Mongiardo is heard to say on the audio clip that Beshear will be remembered as the state’s “worst” governor, and he goes on to criticize Beshear for offering little fundraising help in Mongiardo’s bid for the  U.S. Senate.

But Beshear dismisses the tape as typical politics and suspects some chicanery may have been involved.

“I remember back in my gubernatorial campaign they Photoshopped my face onto somebody else’s body and had it on something.   People have a lot of ingenuity with this kind of stuff these days. But you know it’s political prankstership,”  Beshear said Tuesday.                              

A spokesperson for Mongiardo’s campaign says the tape was edited and that the Lt. Governor strongly support Beshear.   The clip, which also contains a profanity, was first posted on YouTube by someone with the user name senrace2010.


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Senate Candidates Report Fundraising Totals

Thanks to Lisa Autry, Kentucky Public Radio/WKYU, Bowling Green

U.S. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky reports that he raised just over $300,000 during the second quarter of this year for his re-election bid.

That’s less than half the money raised by fellow Republican and Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who may run for Bunning’s seat.

Bunning’s contributions bring his overall fundraising total to $1.2 million since he won re-election in 2004.

Western Kentucky University Political Science Professor Scott Lasley says Bunning’s money-raising efforts have been hampered by a number of factors.

“His decision not to be more aggressive in the first place, but then a lack of perhaps support from Senator (Mitch)  McConnell and the Senate (campaign) committee.    And certainly weak numbers in surveys and approval ratings;  the fact that you have some attractive candidates, particularly trey grayson in the wings,”  Lasley said.

Another likely GOP opponent is Bowling Green eye doctor Rand Paul.

Sen. Bunning has said he would re-evaluate his campaign this month.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is the leader in the money race on the Democratic side, having brought in more than $1 million in the second quarter.    Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo reported raising a little over $300,000.

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Kentucky Gov. Office: Mongiardo Endorsement Legal

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Did a recent political endorsement issued by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear violate state and federal campaign laws? Page One, a political blog in Louisville, says it did, but the governor’s office disagrees.

Last Friday, Governor Steve Beshear endorsed Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo’s Democratic campaign for the U-S Senate seat currently held by Republican Jim Bunning. But the endorsement was issued through state email on official letterhead.

Beshear spokesman Jay Blanton sees nothing wrong with that. “The governor’s office has been asked the question several times about his stance on that race and that question is asked in his capacity as governor. And he was responding in his capacity as governor,” Blanton said.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance referred Kentucky Public Radio to the Federal Election Commission, which sees no violation of federal campaign laws. The attorney general’s office says use of state letterhead may raise ethical questions, but that’s a matter for the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, which has received no complaints.

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Beshear Endorses Mongiardo For Senate

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is endorsing a candidate in next year’s U-S Senate race in the commonwealth.

In 2007, they successfully ran for governor and lieutenant governor. Now, Governor Steve Beshear is backing Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo for the U-S Senate seat currently held by Republican Senator Jim Bunning.

In a written release, Beshear says, “While I will miss the contributions that Daniel has brought to our team, I know he feels called to service in the U-S Senate and I support his mission.” Beshear says the commonwealth needs a strong representative in Washington “to give voice to Kentucky priorities and values” and Mongiardo “can be that voice.”

Despite low poll numbers, Senator Bunning says he’s in the race for re-election. Other prominent Republicans eyeing the race include Senate President David Williams and Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who says he’ll get in if Bunning drops out.

Democrats considering taking on Mongiardo in the primary include Congressman Ben Chandler, Attorney General Jack Conway, and State Auditor Crit Luallen.

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Bunning Says Again He'll Seek Re-election

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says he’s not wavering in his resolve to seek a third term in office

Republican Jim Bunning told reporters Tuesday he fully intends to mount another bid for office, even though he’s raised little campaign money.

Bunning says his campaign war chest is low because he didn’t want to interfere with other candidates’ recent fundraising efforts.

The 77 year old Bunning says he recently formed fundraising committees in Kentucky and Washington and estimates he’ll need to raise about $10 million to have a shot at re-election.

“It took seven the last time, I spent $7 million. How difficult? Depending on how the  environment is. Couldn’t have been worse this past…2008…I suspect it will be better in 2010,” Bunning said.

Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo announced Monday he’ll seek his party’s nomination to challenge Bunning, who narrowly defeated him in 2004.



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Mongiardo To Seek Senate Seat

Kentucky Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo says he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Jim Bunning.

Mongiardo, who was narrowly defeated by Bunning in the 2004 race, made the announcement Monday in a written statement.

Bunning has repeatedly said he’ll seek re-election in 2010, although he has raised very little campaign money.

Other Democrats who are considering a run for the office include Attorney General Jack Conway and State Auditor Crit Luallan.