Jack Conway

With Kentucky’s gubernatorial primary four months away, candidates are beginning to line up endorsements.

Kentucky’s AFL-CIO chapter officially endorsed Democratic candidate and Attorney General Jack Conway Tuesday. Republican candidate and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been endorsed by former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.

Another GOP candidate, former Louisville Council Member Hal Heiner, this week aired the first television ad of the 2015 election cycle.

The spot touts Heiner’s experience in private business and says he would fight against federal mandatessuch as Obamacare and the Common Core educational standards.

Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is also running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Secretary of State and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says she’s considering several options, including running for governor, attorney general , and a second term as Secretary of State.

WKU Public Radio

Democrat Jack Conway has officially filed to run for governor.  The Attorney General filed candidacy papers with the Secretary of State's office Monday morning.

Conway announced his candidacy several months ago and has raised more than$1.3 million. But today’s filing officially puts him on the ballot for the May 19 Democratic primary. 

Conway is the second person to file for Kentucky governor.  Former congressional candidate Geoff Young filed in December. It's unclear if other top Democrats will challenge Conway for the nomination. House Majority  Floor Leader Rocky Adkins is considering a run but has not made a decision.

Candidates have until Jan. 27 to file for the race. At least three Republicans have said they will run, but none has filed yet.

Conway Has Surgery To Repair Herniated Disc

Dec 3, 2014

Democratic Attorney General and 2015 candidate for governor Jack Conway has had successful back surgery.

The procedure on Wednesday at Baptist Health Louisville was to help stop persistent pain caused by a herniated disc, according to a news release from the Attorney General's Office. A spokeswoman said Conway will have a limited schedule for the rest of the year but will hit the ground running in 2015.

Conway is finishing his second term as Kentucky's attorney general. He announced his candidacy for governor in May and has been raising money this year along with running mate Sannie Overly, a state representative from Paris who is also chairwoman of the House Democratic caucus. Geoff Young, a Democrat from Lexington, has also filed to run for governor as a Democrat.

Conway Cleared To Use State Workers For Security

Nov 10, 2014

Attorney General Jack Conway can use state employees on state time for security purposes at private or political events during his campaign for governor, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission ruled Monday.

Conway asked for an advisory opinion after a review from his office recommended he have protection at public or publicized events. The review cited recent instances where people have approached Conway and threatened him and one instance of someone showing up at Conway's house and harassing his family.

The review did not say why Conway was threatened. In March, Conway received national attention when he declined to appeal a judge's ruling ordering Kentucky to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. A spokeswoman in Conway's office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Conway is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

What’s next for Alison Lundergan Grimes? It’s a question some have been asking since the Secretary of State’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.  A Bluegrass Poll taken a week before the election suggests voter enthusiasm is tepid with regards to Grimes running for Kentucky governor next year.  The poll found 33 percent of respondents wanted her to run.  Fifty percent did not and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.  Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and businessman Hal Heiner have entered the race on the GOP side.

Whitfield Endorses Comer For Governor

Oct 1, 2014
Office of Rep. Whitfield

Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has endorsed James Comer for governor.

Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, is seeking the party's nomination for governor in 2015. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination.

In a news release from the Comer campaign, Whitfield said he believes Comer's achievements as agriculture commissioner makes him the candidate with the best chance to take back the governor's office. Democrats have won nine of the last 10 governor's elections.

Whitfield has represented Kentucky's 1st Congressional District since 1994. The district includes the city of Tompkinsville, Comer's home.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and several state lawmakers also have endorsed Comer.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democrat in the race. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

Thinkstock

 Nearly 230 Kentucky servicemembers will share $1.2 million dollars in debt relief as part of a settlement reached Tuesday with a financial company, accused of using deceptive lending practices. 

In a strongly worded statement, Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway says the company, Rome Finance “targeted our servicemen and women by luring them into deceptive lending schemes with the promise of no money down and instant financing.”

“These brave men and women work each day to protect our freedom, and the predatory actions taken by Rome Finance are unconscionable," said Conway. 

On Tuesday, Conway, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 12 other state attorneys general including his counterparts in Indiana and Tennessee, announced the settlement, which provides $92 million  of debt-relief to nearly 18,000 sevicemembers nationwide. 

Additionally, Rome Finance, which is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, is banned from doing new business.  

Hal Heiner campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner says he isn’t sure whether burning fossil fuels like coal contributes to climate change.

 Heiner spoke to Kentucky Public Radio at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s country ham breakfast last Thursday, saying that he’s on the fence when it comes to climate science.

“I don’t have a scientific position, on contribution or not, but what I do know is … if we’re going to stay economically competitive in a global marketplace, we have to burn coal,” said Heiner.

Heiner recently attacked his primary opponent, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, over comments he made last year that the state needs to move “beyond coal.”

Kentucky and Tennessee officials have launched initiatives today to spread awareness of human trafficking.

A new poll suggests the race to decide Kentucky’s next governor, it’s still very much up for grabs.

Data from a recent Bluegrass poll shows a plurality of Kentucky voters have either “no opinion” or are neutral toward three gubernatorial candidates, including Attorney General Jack Conway; former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner; and Agriculture Secretary James Comer, whom is expected to announce his candidacy this weekend at the Fancy Farm political picnic in West Kentucky.

Notably, the poll suggests Conway is trailing Heiner and Comer among African Americans, with a negative favorability rating of eight points.

The poll surveyed 714 registered voters, and reported a margin of error just under 4 percent.

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State Representative Ben Waide was indicted Tuesday by a Franklin County grand jury for allegedly violating campaign finance laws.

According to a news release from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, the grand jury returned a two-count felony indictment against Waide, who is a Republican from Hopkins County.  The charges relate to his 2010 campaign for state representative. 

The investigation began when a complaint was filed in January with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance by shareholders of Liberty Rehabilitation, PSC. Waide is accused of illegally accepting about $10,000 in campaign contributions from Liberty, a Madisonville company where he was a partner.  He also alleged submitted some $6,000 in receipts to his campaign fund for reimbursement of expenses he did not incur. 

Waide is scheduled for arraignment August 29 Franklin Circuit Court. His attorney, so far, has not returned a call for comment.

Conway Backs Expanded Gambling To Create Revenue

Jul 10, 2014

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway says he supports expanded gambling as a way to raise revenue for essential state programs and hasn't given up on getting the long-stymied proposal through the General Assembly.

Conway says Kentucky has missed out on the economic benefits of casino-style gambling near its borders.

He says he'll promote putting the issue on the ballot as he campaigns across the state.

Conway's comments came after he spoke Thursday to local officials from across Kentucky.

Republican James Comer, who is expected to enter next year's governor's race, promoted right-to-work legislation in his speech to the same group.

Comer said making Kentucky a "right-to-work" state would enhance its competitiveness.

Kentucky's last GOP governor, Ernie Fletcher, failed in his push to let Kentucky workers opt out of union representation.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway is concerned about the influence that a conservative 501(c)(4) group could have on Kentucky’s fall elections and beyond.

Americans for Prosperity was founded in 2004, and was led by David Koch of the billionaire, right-wing Koch brothers fame. The group and its network of undisclosed donors spent $40 million in 2010 to wrest control of the U.S. House from Democrats.

And with the recent announcement that the group has hired a director for its Kentucky chapter, Attorney General Conway says he’s concerned that the network of “dark” campaign money will warp Kentucky politics.

“I don’t think we ought to let in Kentucky state politics happen what’s happened at the federal level," said Conway. " Because people raise money for Senate campaign or House campaigns, and all of a sudden the corporate interests come in in the end and outspend what the individuals raised, and they treat the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives like it’s members are just nothing more than pawns in a larger corporate game.”

Edelen Rules Out 2015 Run for Kentucky Governor

Jun 18, 2014

Citing a need to be with his family, Democratic Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has declared he won't run for governor next year.

Speculation was rampant that Edelen would enter the contest, but he quelled it with an announcement  Wednesday. 

“My wife and my sons were all gung-ho for me to run, but at the end of the day I made the determination that I’d rather spend the next year-and-a-half coaching little league and catching crooks and running for re-election than I would worrying about my name ID in a governor’s race,” said Edelen

Attorney General Jack Conway is currently the only Democrat seeking the governor's office. 

Edelen says he is withholding any endorsements until more candidates enter the race. 

But he thinks Conway will benefit from greater name recognition among voters. Republican Hal Heiner of Louisville is the only Republican to announce a gubernatorial candidacy so far.

Edelen says he is “absolutely” considering running for governor in the future.

Kentucky Reaches Settlement With Tobacco Companies

Jun 12, 2014

Tobacco companies have agreed to give Kentucky more than $110 million to settle a 10-year legal battle over the state's share of the tobacco master settlement agreement.

In 1998, U.S. tobacco companies agreed to pay $229 billion to 52 states and territories over many years to compensate for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Kentucky had to tax tobacco companies that did not participate in the agreement.

The big tobacco companies accused Kentucky of not collecting all of those taxes. As a result, they withheld some of Kentucky's annual payments. State officials and tobacco companies have been fighting over those disputed payments since 2003.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway said the money will go to pay for a range of agricultural and public health programs.

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