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Duking it out in the U.S. Senate race

March 15, 2010

With the NCAA tournament beginning later this week, those old rivalries are heating up, particularly with UK and Duke University both landing No. 1 seeds in this year’s battle.

But those rivalries are showing up far from the court, with jabs at two Kentucky candidates who are Duke grads.

Republican Trey Grayson, in an ad recently released, had unearthed a video of GOP primary opponent Rand Paul saying “I’m Rand Paul, and I’m a Duke Blue Devil.” Paul, a Bowling Green opthamalogist, graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine.

Here’s the ad –

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Paul responded that “It’s especially funny watching my Harvard-educated opponent complain about where I went to medical school.” Grayson went to Harvard for undergraduate, then graduated from University of Kentucky law school.

And on the Democratic side, UK grad Dan Mongiardo has offered a wager to one of his opponents, Jack Conway. Conway, who is Kentucky attorney general, went to Duke as an undergrad, and has faced barbs from the Mongiardo camp before about that fact.

In a release today, Mongiardo offered the following –

“I am a proud Kentucky graduate, as I know Jack Conway is a proud Duke graduate.  In the spirit of friendly competition, I offer Jack a friendly wager that Kentucky will advance further in the tournament than Duke. If Jack loses, Jack will serve as my golf instructor at Louisville’s Audubon Country Club, where he is a member. If I lose, I will serve as Jack’s hunting guide on a wild turkey hunt in Western Kentucky,” said Mongiardo, who graduated from UK Medical School.

And the response from the Conway camp –

While we certainly appreciate the Mongiardo campaign’s offer to wager on the NCAA tournament, at a time when Kentucky’s unemployment rate is nearly 11%, we believe it’s more appropriate to keep the focus of this campaign on which candidate can help the people of Kentucky in this difficult economic time. Jack is less interested in where anyone went to college than in making sure Kentucky families can afford to send their kids to college.

As a long time college basketball fan, it’s unfortunate that Daniel Mongiardo’s campaign has decided to cheapen America’s greatest sporting event by injecting lowbrow political attacks into the NCAA tournament.

Additionally Jack’s bracket has UK winning it all, so our campaign is not in a position to accept this bet since the spirit of it conflicts with our candidate’s bracket.

Of course, everyone’s saying these are just lighthearted jabs, but perhaps offered through clenched teeth. There’s been little playful banter between these candidates in the past.

And in the end, one would hope voters aren’t going to be basing their votes on where a candidate went to school. That would be ludicrous, right?

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