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Dems preach unity on night before Fancy Farm

July 31, 2009

With the Democratic primary for next year’s U.S. Senate race likely taking top billing at this year’s Fancy Farm political picnic, the party faithful were preaching unity at Friday night’s bean supper sponsored by the Marshall County Democratic Party.

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and state Attorney General Jack Conway, the top two vying for the Democratic nomination next year, were the main attraction at the bean supper, which is in its 14th year and is a Fancy Farm kick-off for the party.

Both spoke for about 10 minutes each, with Conway not mentioning his opponent other than to thank him for a recent note of congratulations. Conway’s wife recently gave birth to a daughter.

Conway recounted his achievements as attorney general over the past two years, and touched on a broad range of issues, including the so-called “cap-and-trade” energy bill that is currently moving through Congress. The bill would limit carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants, which will likely drive up energy prices in Kentucky and have an impact on coal production.

“I will not vote for cap and trade,” Conway pledged.

In the only sign of tension between the two candidates, Mongiardo said he was glad to hear Conway pledge to oppose the bill, saying that earlier reports in the Lousville Courier-Journal indicated otherwise.

Mongiardo focused solely on the energy bill and health care in his remarks, saying that as a surgeon, he’s better qualified to push for health care reform in Washington D.C.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Charlie Moore followed the two candidates, and said each had committed to not run negative campaigns against each other leading up to next May’s primary election.

“We need to come out (of the primary) not bloodied by our own brothers and sisters,” said Moore, a Waverly attorney who practices in Owensboro.

Upon taking the stage, Moore noted that the program’s for the bean supper had a misprint, indicating that former state party chairwoman Jennifer Moore was slated to speak instead of him.

Another light moment of the night was Conway’s response to earlier comments by state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, who told a story about the sound of cats apparently fighting in a barn, only to find later find a litter of kittens.

Conway noted that he and Mongiardo were “making babies” not making kittens. Mongiardo’s wife, Allison, is pregnant.

Along with the Senate race, Democrats focused on gaining seats in the state Senate. A special election is scheduled in late August for a seat left vacant by Republican Charlie Borders, who left the body earlier in July after being appointed to the Public Service Commission by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear isn’t going to attend Fancy Farm, opting instead for a family vacation, but his newly chosen running mate, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, hammered home the importance of a Democrat winning that state Senate seat, as did state Auditor Crit Luallen.

“We can do it this year,” Luallen said to applause.

Both parties will host breakfasts Saturday morning before the political speeches kick-off at Fancy Farm at 2 p.m., with former Courier-Journal reporter Al Cross, who now heads the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at UK, as emcee.

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