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Conway set to enter Senate race as "independent" Democrat

by Joe Arnold


Posted on January 19, 2010 at 5:49 PM

One day before Jack Conway officially enters the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, the Louisville Democrat shared his frustrations with the first year of Democratic control of both the Presidency and Congress.

"I think people are frustrated with the fact that the Democrats have been in power and they haven't been able to get anything done," Conway said.

If it turns out that Democrats can't hold on to Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, which voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama,  what chance does a Democrat like Jack Conway have in Kentucky, which went for Republican John McCain?

Martha Coakley is a friend of mine. I hope she pulls it out," Conway told WHAS11's Joe Arnold.  "It looks like it's going to be awfully close, but they are just two distinct animals. So I'm not really concerned about that."

The Democrat Attorney General appears to be walking a tightrope -- needing Democrats' support to defeat Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo in the Democrat primary, but stressing that he is independent when he needs to be and acknowledging American impatience with Washington.

"I'm running because I, like they are, am frustrated about some things.  I think we've been effective in the office of the Attorney General, but when you look at Washington, Washington isn't getting it done for KY."

In Louisville and Lexington today, Conway began two weeks of conversations with business and community leaders, telling them he's frustrated by bank bailouts too, proposing as that money is repaid, some of it go toward a "hometown tax credit."

"If you're a small or medium sized company and you're creating jobs here, you ought to get a tax credit for a period of five years."

But Conway is sticking by the Democrats' health care overhaul, which appears to be sparking the Republican surge in Massachusetts.

"I think it's a good thing that 31 million additional Americans get health care coverage. It's a good thing to cover folks with preexisting conditions.  And I think it's a laudable goal. I just think this process has really upset a lot of people, and I'm upset by this process."

Conway says he would have voted to move the bill forward, but because of a provision that gives preferential treatment to Nebraska, Conway says he would have voted against the bill itself.

"I would have voted for cloture to allow the bill to go forward but on the final health care bill that has a compromise like that to win one senators vote, that's what everyone hates about Washington.  That's why a lot of people think Washington is broken."