Republican Matt Bevin was the strongest contender from a weak GOP field of four candidates, but he hasn’t shown he knows how to unite his own party, much less bridge the partisan divide. Bevin won the Republican primary by 83 votes. That’s not much of a mandate, but Bevin has treated his win as a coronation, telling Kentuckians he’s vetting hires for his administration because the odds are he’ll be governor. Yet the most recent polling shows Bevin lagging Conway by 5 percentage points, with a plus or minus 3.8-point margin of error.
Bevin needs to listen before he can lead, and must lead before he can govern. Northern Kentucky Republicans have expressed concern they may not have Bevin’s ear if he is elected, and they’re not alone. Bevin touts his experience as a businessman, but being a CEO is very different than being a governor. Conway may be a Democrat in a state that usually votes red nationally, but by trial of experience and proof of accomplishments, it is clear he knows a leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk.
Conway’s proposals reflect his thoughtful approach to Kentucky’s pressing issues.
He has diligently worked to curb drug abuse in Kentucky as attorney general and has the right approach to the heroin epidemic. He sees the scourge of addiction as a treatment problem, and directed $32 million from a settlement with drug companies toward juvenile treatment programs and care centers. He was a strong advocate of a critical heroin aid bill that squeaked through the legislature earlier this year.
Northern Kentucky needs a solution for the aging Brent Spence Bridge, and neither Conway nor Bevin has a convincing answer. But of the two men, Conway’s approach is realistically cautious and hopeful. He is wisely opposed to the Eastern Bypass proposal, while Bevin thinks it holds some merit. Conway is open to the idea of public-private partnerships, and while he says he won’t go against Northern Kentuckians if they oppose tolls, we’re encouraged by his vow to make the Brent Spence problem a priority. His willingness to work with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the bridge also bodes well. Both Kentucky and Ohio will benefit from partnering to solve regional problems.
"We hate them both, but at least Jack Conway is sane and not a complete asshole, so meh." Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but one that Handsome Jack will take. With the election just two and a half weeks out, Conway will take all the "whatever, man" votes he can get.
What the hell, I'm feeling confident. Even Bevin's own polling shows him down by 3. New tag: Handsome Jack.