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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 9 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 19
Pro-equality Attorney General runs for Governor of Kentucky
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Pro-equality Attorney General runs for Governor of Kentucky

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced May 6 that he would be a candidate in his state's Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Conway made headlines in March when, in an emotional press conference, he said he would not appeal a U.S. district judge's ruling striking down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage. Kentucky's conservative Democratic Governor Steve Bashear then hired private lawyers to handle the appeal.

In announcing his candidacy for Governor, Conway warned potential opponents against using that decision against him.

'They do so at their own peril,' he said. Public opinion is shifting in favor of marriage equality, even in Kentucky, Conway noted.

'I think in the fall of 2015 that will not be the big issue,' he said. 'I think the voters will be more interested in building Kentucky's future than in reliving all of that.'

A February 2014 Bluegrass poll found that 35% of Kentucky residents support same-sex marriage, while 55% oppose it, rising from 18% support in 1994-1996 and 31% in 2010.

Meanwhile Kentucky Republicans did not raise the marriage issue, instead labeling Conway as a clone of President Barack Obama, who is widely unpopular in Kentucky.

'It should concern all Kentucky voters that a true liberal like Jack Conway, who has publicly embraced President Barack Obama and the views of his administration, wants to lead our Commonwealth,' Kentucky GOP chairman Steve Robertson said.

While Republican candidates have come to define themselves by their opposition to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), Conway said he would work to keep in place Kynect - Kentucky's version of the Affordable Care Act. More than 413,000 Kentuckians have reportedly signed up for health insurance either through Medicaid or subsidized private plans.

'I think Republicans have to answer why they want to advocate policies that take health care away from 415,000 people,' Conway said. 'The people of Kentucky have distinguished between the inability of Washington to get it right and what Kentucky did.'

Conway is the first Democrat to announce for the 2015 governor's race. Republican Hal Heiner, a former Louisville councilman, announced his candidacy in March.

Conway has been elected twice as Kentucky's Attorney General, defeating his Republican opponents by comfortable margins.

He has lost campaigns for federal offices, however. In 2002, Conway nearly unseated Republican U.S. Representative Anne Northup in a hard-fought congressional race in the Louisville area. In 2010, he also lost a grueling campaign for the U.S. Senate to Republican Rand Paul.

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