Paul and Conway Win Senate Nods in Kentucky
Tea Party-supported candidate Rand Paul (R) and state Attorney General Jack Conway captured the major party nominations for retiring Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) Kentucky Senate seat.
The Associated Press called both races Tuesday night, though the agency projected Paul’s victory much earlier. With nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting at 2:17 a.m. Wednesday, Paul led state Secretary of State Trey Grayson 59-35 percent, while Conway led Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo 44-43 percent.
Conway’s win represents a significant change from recent polls, which all showed Mongiardo leading. The most recent poll, from Daily Kos/Research 2000*, showed Mongiardo leading 39-36. It should be noted that this result did show momentum on Conway’s side, as Mongiardo had previously led 47-31. All recent polls of the Republican primary showed Paul with a significant lead over Grayson.
Even as both parties’ primaries were decided, there was still drama playing out between the Paul and Grayson campaigns. Grayson accused Paul’s people of conducting a voter intimidation drive at polling places, citing a Paul campaign document that directed his supporters to witness the vote tallying and make get out the vote calls. At least one arrest occurred in connection with vote buying, as Hazard City police nabbed a local businessman accused of buying a vote for $20. The state’s election fraud hot line had received 121 calls as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, which included charges of vote buying and selling, many of which involved the GOP primary.
Paul’s campaign manager, David Adams, told The Lexington Herald-Leader the charges were “ridiculous” and that the problems were “much ado about nothing.”
On the House side, there was no drama whatsoever – all six incumbents went uncontested for re-nomination, as did the challengers in three districts. There are now clear challengers in the other three following Tuesday’s vote. Air Force veteran Todd Lally (R) will challenge Rep. John Yarmuth (D), while attorney Andy Barr (R) will take on Rep. Ben Chandler (D). EMS pilot Jim Holbert (D) won his race to challenge Rep. Hal Rogers (R).
Update at 12:55 p.m. May 19: Mongiardo’s campaign announced Wednesday that he plans to ask for a recanvass of voting machines and absentee ballots, despite having already conceded the race. Candidates must request a recanvass by the Tuesday after the election — for this election, by May 25. County clerks would conduct the recanvass May 27.
Update at 12:41 a.m. May 20: Mongiardo decided not to ask for a recanvass after all.
“I realize that despite there being less than a 1% difference in the vote, a re-canvass is extremely unlikely to change the outcome,” he said in a statement.
Conway was gracious in his response, calling the Mongiardo campaign “worthy opponents.”
“In the Democratic Party, as is the case with most families, sometimes brothers fight. But when faced with an opposing force, those same brothers stand together to protect their family,” he said.
**Update 6/29/10: The validity of Research 2000 polls has recently come into question. *