Jack Conway announces he's running for governor - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jack Conway announces he's running for governor

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Attorney General Jack Conway confirmed months of rumors on Tuesday, announcing that he is running for governor in 2015.

Conway's decision, which WAVE 3 News reported Monday, makes him the first Democrat in the race. His running mate is state Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris.

The campaign released a five-minute video around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, in which Conway laid out his priorities of education funding and bringing new businesses to Kentucky.

"As we choose our next governor, now is not the time for inexperience and empty promises," Conway told reporters Tuesday afternoon in Frankfort. "Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and move this Commonwealth forward."

Conway's campaign hasn't hired any staff yet, and a kickoff rally isn't likely to happen until this summer.

Conway said it was a thought-out decision to avoid stealing the spotlight from fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who's running for U.S. Senate this fall against Mitch McConnell.

"Democratic voters can walk and chew gum at the same time," Conway said when asked about the two big-ticket races happening at once. "We are announcing in a way that's symbiotic with (Grimes') campaign. I told her I wouldn't step on her toes."

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Conway's long time friend and mentor, former Auditor Crit Luallen, said two weeks ago that she would not run for governor, paving the way for Conway to run.

Louisville businessman Hal Heiner, a Republican, is already in the race. Several other Kentucky politicians have said they're weighing a potential run and may announce over the next several weeks.

Overly has served in Kentucky's House for five years and is the first woman to be elected to a Democratic leadership position in that chamber.

"(Conway's) record of accomplishment in the Attorney General's office, the fights he's taken on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, make me proud," Overly said at Tuesday's news conference.

Conway said his campaign would focus on early childhood education, K-12 funding, and making higher education more affordable.

As governor, Conway said he would support a constitutional amendment asking voters whether to allow casinos in Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear has tried to get lawmakers to advance the legislation, failing every year.

"I'm not going to say he's failed – he's tried several times – but it's a vote we need to have," Conway said.

Conway said his more than six years as attorney general have been successful, even while taking a cumulative 41 percent budget cut over that time.

After the announcement, Republicans criticized Conway.

"It should concern all Kentucky voters that a true liberal like Jack Conway, who has publicly embraced President Barack Obama and the views of his administration, wants to lead our Commonwealth," said party chairman Steve Robertson in a statement.

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