Wendell Ford endorses Conway for U.S. Senate

Former Governor and longtime Senator Wendell Ford is throwing his support behind Jack Conway in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate. Conway’s campaign says the endorsement is “huge” and calls it a “game changer.”

Former Governor and longtime Senator Wendell Ford is throwing his support behind Jack Conway in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate.

Conway’s campaign says the endorsement is “huge” and calls it a “game changer.”

Six years ago, Ford supported Daniel Mongiardo’s bid for the U.S Senate.  Mongiardo narrowly lost that election to Senator Jim Bunning.

Ford’s endorsement is featured in Conway’s latest television ad.



(AP) Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway released a television ad Monday featuring an endorsement from one of Kentucky's most renowned Democrats – former longtime Sen. Wendell Ford.


The commercial displays Ford's picture alongside other prominent Democrats who are backing Conway - U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen and state House Speaker Greg Stumbo.


Ford makes no comments in the ad, but Conway's campaign released a one-sentence statement from the former senator in which he calls

Conway "the best candidate for Kentucky and that's why I am supporting him."


With the campaign in its final stretch before the May 18

primary, Conway is locked in a hard-fought race with Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat occupied by Ford for years.


Reacting to Conway's latest endorsement, Mongiardo campaign spokesman Kim Geveden said that Mongiardo has "great admiration and respect for Sen. Ford and his decision today does nothing to change that."


"Daniel knows that on the morning after the primary, if there's one person he can count on to stand with him as he leads our Kentucky Democratic Party into the fall, it is Wendell Ford," Geveden said.


Ford was a high-profile campaigner for Mongiardo six years ago when Mongiardo, then a state senator, fell just short of upsetting Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.


Bunning, who succeeded Ford, is retiring after two terms in the Senate.


Geveden downplayed the prominent endorsements garnered by Conway, the state's attorney general.


"Unlike Jack, who needs all of these politicians to try and

lift him up and carry him on their shoulders, Daniel doesn't need that," Geveden said.


Geveden stressed Mongiardo's grassroots strength, saying he has won backing from more than a dozen county judge-executives in western Kentucky, where Ford is from.


In accepting the endorsement, Conway said Ford inspired him to enter public service. Conway said he would "strive to emulate" Ford and wants to "return this seat to the people for whom Wendell Ford fought."


Meanwhile, Mongiardo has the backing of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Geveden said the campaign hasn't yet asked Beshear to campaign for Mongiardo in the final week of the campaign.


"The reason we haven't is because we know that he's been busy with the budget," Geveden said.


Beshear is trying to help broker an agreement between House and Senate leaders on a new state budget, after lawmakers ended their regular session without passing a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Beshear has said he'll call lawmakers back for a special session to finish work on the budget.


Geveden didn't rule out a late role by Beshear on behalf of



"Who knows, you still may hear or see from the governor before election day's over," he said.


Conway’s campaign sent this email to supporters.

This is huge. Former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford has endorsed our campaign.

Senator Ford was my inspiration for entering public service and receiving his endorsement is incredibly humbling. With less than 10 days until Primary Election Day, you and I have the power to return this senate seat to the people for whom Wendell Ford fought. 

My good friends Crit Luallen, Greg Stumbo, and Ben Chandler joined Senator Ford in their enthusiastic endorsement of the work that we're doing together on the campaign trail by appearing in an influential television ad. We need to raise another $10,000 to keep this critical message up on the air.  By making an immediate donation, you have the power to get this ad up on the air and into the homes of undecided voters

Thank you so much for your support in these eight days before Primary Election Day.


Conway has also picked up endorsements from Kentucky’s two major newspapers.

Click here to read the Lexington Herald Leader endorsement.

Click here to read the Courier-Journal endorsement.

Who will you vote for in next week's U.S. Senate race?  Vote now in our on-line poll.

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