Conway to spend more time at home after loss

By Cheyene Miller

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Despite polling ahead for the vast majority of the campaign season, Democratic candidate Jack Conway came up 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,” said Conway in his concession speech at the Kentucky Democratic election watch party 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.”

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,” Conway 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 political 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.”

Democratic Kentucky Representative Dean Schamore was in the crowd, which 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,” said Schamore as the final results were being tallied statewide, showing a Conway defeat.

Regarding the idea of Bevin as governor, 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.”

Mary Lewis, a lobbyist from Louisville, said that she voted Conway because she felt he was the most qualified candidate.

“I think he would make an awesome governor,” said Lewis, who was disappointed by Conway’s loss.  “I really feel sorry for him.”

Steve Crisp, a telecommunications businessman from Georgetown, said that he is a Republican who voted Democrat in this election because he thought Conway was “the guy for the job.”

Crisp said that despite winning Bevin often seemed to lack support from his own party throughout the campaign.

“I really just don’t know a lot about Mr. Bevin,” Crisp said.

Corey Hyde, a University of Kentucky computer science senior from London, said that Conway’s loss was “not quite what I expected.”

Hyde said that his boyfriend was a union employee and feared a Bevin victory because Bevin has posited making Kentucky a right-to-work state to attract new businesses.

During the campaign Bevin touted his experience as a businessman capable of creating jobs for Kentucky.  He and other Kentucky Republicans often painted Conway as an untrustworthy career politician with no private sector experience.

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 governor Beshear, Conway’s fellow Kentucky Democrat.

Bevin’s victory represents a change in Kentucky’s longstanding tradition of electing Democrats to the governor’s mansion.

Bevin won the election with 52.5 percent of the votes compared to 43.8 percent for Conway.  Independent candidate Drew Curtis received 3.7 percent of the votes.