Sunday, Feb 21 at 3:25 PM
The contentious primary race between Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway took another turn today, with Mongiardo collecting a number of endorsements from prominent Democrats on Conway's home turf in Jefferson County.
Mongiardo, a former state Senator from Eastern Kentucky, walked the urban versus rural tightrope speaking in Louisville, Saturday morning. He says it takes "a lot of courage" for every Democratic state senator in Jefferson County to endorse him rather than Louisville's Jack Conway.
"I can't tell you how humbled I am for the ones who have stood up today to publicly support me in the backyard of my opponent." Mongiardo said.
But Mongiardo didn't tiptoe through Conway's backyard. He plowed through it, slamming his rival and underscoring the urban versus rural divide in theprimary.
"The last thing we need is to send more of the same, another lawyer-politician to Washington. What we need is someone who has rural Kentucky common sense values so that we can get the system working for us," Mongiardo said.
"The working class people, that's who he connects with," said House Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark, "His campaign is going to be about people and the grassroots effort. He won't commercialize the campaign. He'll meet people face to face and talk about the issues, real issues, real people and that's how he's going to win this election."
While Jack Conway is endorsed by the two most prominent Democrats in Louisville, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Congressman John Yarmuth, and touts his own labor union support, Mongiardo is carving out a chunk of the Jefferson County workforce for himself.
"He's got a 100% labor voting record," said IBEW Local 369 Business Manager Bill Finn, one of fifty Jefferson County Democrats listed as endorsing Mongiardo, "He's got a proven track record of voting for working families and that's what we need."
State Senator Gerald Neal introduced Mongiardo at the union hall event, saying Mongiardo is "a man who not only has the background, not only is thoroughly prepared, but understands the issues and concerns of the citizens of the state of Kentucky."
Standing among the state senators behind Mongiardo were former Democratic Senate Leader David Karem and Alex Clements, who holds a Jefferson County office with no official duties, 'B’ District Commissioner. The commissioners' role in Jefferson County government was phased out with city-county merger seven years ago.
"This is the backyard of my opponent and I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up, especially here and especially now," Mongiardo said.
A Mongiardo campaign news release lists several other notable endorsements among the fifty announced, including Shively Mayor Sherry Conner and Louisville Metro Council members, Dan Johnson, Judith Greene, Barbara Shanklin and Brent Ackerson. Four former Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairs are also in Mongiardo's corner, Clark, "Tim" Longmeyer, Steve Horner and Melvin Ratchford.
Asked if the endorsements made Mongiardo competitive in Jefferson County, Conway campaign spokeswoman Allison Haley was unequivocal.
"No. Jack is strong in Louisville and throughout the state," Haley said, adding that Conway's statewide organization is also solid.
In a video message to supporters, Conway campaign manager Jonathan Drobis said this week that Conway is "well positioned" to win the primary. Drobis cites Conway's overall fundraising lead, saying Conway has a $1 million cash advantage over Mongiardo.
"We'll be outspent," Mongiardo conceded Saturday, "but we won't be outworked." Mongiardo said his campaign will have more volunteers and develop morepersonal relationships.
"He's not going to be on TV and radio a lot," Clark volunteered, "He's going to be in that car, meeting people all over this state. And he's going to have a grassroots effort. And that's how he's going to win this election."
Yet, Mongiardo took pains to stress that a trip to Louisville for him is not a road trip.
"This is not us versus them," the Lt. Governor said, "This is not Louisville versus the rest of the state. we're playing on the same court. This is one end of the court. This is part of my state as well.
"And I think Louisville is the economic engine of this state. I understand that we need to improve the economy in Louisville so the rest of the state works as well. What we need to focus on is Kentucky focused jobs," Mongiardo said contrasting his jobs initiatives with the Conway "Jobs Tour" in January. One of Conway's proposals is implementing tax credits to help businesses grow and expand.
"I'm all for small business tax breaks," Mongiardo said, "We need to develop a Kentucky centered job development plan."
Mongiardo said jobs would come to Kentucky with the development of high-speed rail through Louisville and with clean coal.
"So jobs is the foundation. Louisville is the economic engine of Kentucky, so obviously this is going to be of utmost economic importance for any U.S. Senator.
A Mongiardo news release lists fifty Jefferson County endorsements:
FRANKFORT – In an impressive display of political strength in his Primary opponent’s backyard, Lt. Governor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo announced today that he has received public endorsements from 50 influential local and state legislators, community leaders, labor officials and political activists in Louisville / Jefferson County.
Political leaders from Louisville announcing their support for Mongiardo include Louisville’s highest ranking state representative, House Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark, 100% of all Democratic State Senators serving Jefferson County – Denise Harper Angel, Perry Clark, Gerald Neal and Tim Shaughnessy, as well as Louisville’s longest serving legislator, House Health & Welfare Committee Chair, State Representative Tom Burch.
Local elected officials publicly endorsing Mongiardo include Shively Mayor Sherry Conner and Louisville-Metro Council members – Dan Johnson, Judith Greene, Barbara Shanklin and Brent Ackerson.
Mongiardo’s public endorsements include four of Jefferson County’s previous Democratic Party (JCDP) Chairs. In addition to House Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark, other JCDP Chairs include *Tim Longmeyer, Steve Horner and Melvin Ratchford.
Mongiardo said, “I am grateful and honored to have the support of so many community leaders and grassroots activists from Louisville. These are the people who work hard every day to make a difference in their community and improve the lives of those they serve. Their willingness to publicly stand with me sends a strong and clear message to every Kentucky voter and political observers everywhere that we have a true statewide grassroots organization that is strongly positioned to contest for every vote in every county of our Commonwealth – including Louisville/Jefferson County.”
Other community leaders and political activists from Louisville/Jefferson County publicly endorsing Mongiardo include:
Margaret Harris – President, Kentucky Women’s Political Caucus
David Karem – Former State Senator and Democratic Leader of the KY State Senate
Eleanor Jordan – Former State Representative and Dem. nominee for U.S. Congress
Danny Ross – Former Senior Advisor to Governor Paul Patton and Retired Labor Leader
Greg Reddington –Former Senior Assistant to Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson
Larry Bond – Former Chief of Staff – Jefferson Co. Judge Executive Dave Armstrong
Virginia Woodward – Former Executive Director, Kentucky Commission on Women
Larry O’Bryan – Democratic Strategist and Political Consultant
Robert Holmes III – Community Youth Organizer and Lou/Jefferson African-American Coordinator for Mongiardo Campaign
*Clarence Yancey – JCDP, 43rd Legislative District Chairman and community activist
*Bill Johnson – JCDP, 42nd Legislative District At-Large Member and Labor Activist
Aaron Horner – Former Campaign Manager – Cong. John Yarmuth’s 2006 Campaign
Lisa Tanner – Former Field Director – Congressman Yarmuth’s 2008 Campaign
Sandy Berman – Attorney and AIPAC activist
Chris Tobe – Financial Consultant
Nikki Jackson – Business Woman / Attorney
Dave Swindler - Businessman & Avid Sportsman
Alex Clements - Jefferson County ‘B’ District Commissioner
Roger Baum – Business Manager, UA Local 502
Bill Finn – Business Manager, IBEW Local 369
Lawrence Winburn – Business Manager, LIUNA Local 576
John Brothers – District Rep, IUOE Local 181
David ‘Doc’ Gahafer – Business Agent, Road Sprinkler Fitters Local 669
Curtis Stratton – Business Manager, IBEW Local 2100
Ray Crider – Retired, National AFL-CIO Political Department and Democratic activist
Marilyn Crider – Democratic Party activist
George Boyd – Machinist & Board Member, Greater Louisville Central Labor Council
Frank Leidermann – Democratic Activist and Democratic Consultant
*Allison Newman-Amon – Vice Chair, JCDP
Jeff Barr – 32nd LD Coordinator for Mongiardo Campaign
Bobbi Jo Weber – Former President of Lou/Metro Women’s Political Caucus / Business Owner
*John Crawford – JCDP 40th Legislative District Chair
Bill Herron - Democratic Activist and 41st LD Coordinator for Mongiardo Campaign
*Pamela Osborne – JCDP 42nd LD Vice Chair
*Stephen Fein – JCDP 44th Legislative District Chair
*John Sommer – JCDP 46th Legislative District Chair
# # #
*Any endorsement by a current Jefferson County Democratic Party (JCDP) official is a reflection of his/her personal view and not as a JCDP official.