I decided to attend a Jack Conway function in Trigg County this evening to see for myself how Conway was adapting to nominee status in Rural Kentucky. I will preface my comments by saying that I have little patience or time to go listen to the same losing tune of another democratic nominee for Congress or the U.S. Senate but Conway earned some points tonight. Conway was at ease and comfortable with his surroundings unlike other events I've seen him at in past years. I think slowly but surely Jack has resigned himself to appreciate the value of Rural Kentucky and it's importance to his chances in November.
I was looking for the usual performance by Louisville candidates which goes somthing like "let's shake their hand, get their money and get the hell out of dodge before we have visions of a certain Ned Beatty scene" but that did not happen. Conway actually seemed to be enjoying himself. Trigg County turned out over 50 people by my count which is a "Communion Sunday" for Democrats in small counties like Trigg. Conway was joined by State Auditor Critt Luallen, Rep. John Tilley, and Rep. Mike Cherry from neighboring Caldwell County.
Conway gave a palatable speech but is probably hammering too much on certain issues that aren't a big priority in Western Kentucky. Agriculture and the Military are big issues and Conway did stress the importance of agriculture while reaffirming his support for the farmers. While the Conway campaign is starting to engage rural issues the window of opportunity to capitalize on them is waining. Rand Paul has missed the boat on a number of these issues and the time is now for Jack Conway to marry a few of them instead of just dating them.
Conway was in Hopkinsville prior to the Trigg County event and sources tell me that he had a better than expected crowd in Benton on Monday night. It would appear that Mongiardo and Conway have worked to bury the hatchet but that doesn't necessarily transfer the Rural Kentucky vote to Conway. Unless Rand Pual's campaign just implodes, what Jack Conway says and does in Rural Kentucky in the next few weeks will determine the fate of his campaign. By my barometer Conway is probably 8-10 points down in West Kentucky but the right words at Fancy Farm could send Rand Paul to the mat.
As a side bar I couldn't resist asking Critt Luallen if her back was hurting from having to pack Todd Hollenbach on Bill Goodman's show Monday night. Luallen was gracious and commented that she thought Todd had a couple good responses. With that segment in mind I was a little surprised that both Luallen and Hollenbach practically endorsed Beshear for a second term. Some are speculating that maybe Hollenbach has made a deal to go to work in the Beshear Administration as opposed to seeking reelection. I would think it premature to endorse a candidate in the primary when you have to run your self. At last word House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins is taking a hard look at the Governor's race and is generating some excitement among West Kentuckians who feel Beshear has not delivered on his promises nor stood with his friends when its mattered.
Next year is ripe for a lot of candidates with a lot of animosity to be created which may very well play into a Republican hand. It should all be interesting!