Jack Conway’s Final Monthly Column

Outgoing Attorney General Jack Conway released his final monthly column yesterday. He’s almost always used it as a tool to promote his candidacy for whatever office he’s seeking.

But since it’s his last? We’ll share it:

Serving as Kentucky’s 49th Attorney General has been an honor and a privilege. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together since I took office eight years ago. I’ve kept my promises to you, and it’s been my honor to fight for you, to protect Kentucky families and to move this state forward.

When I was first elected as your Attorney General in 2007, I pledged to crack down on prescription painkiller abuse, protect our children from dangers online and to go after those who have defrauded the Commonwealth. Now, we have of promises made and promises kept.

I created Kentucky’s first statewide prescription drug task force. We crafted legislation, which is now a national model. We’ve shut down half of the state’s pain clinics and we are expanding drug treatment in Kentucky. In fact, my staff and I shared one of our proudest accomplishments when we announced that $32 million secured through two pharmaceutical settlements would be used to expand substance abuse treatment across the state, including treatment for juveniles. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of the substance abuse treatment facilities that are receiving funding through this initiative and I’ve witnessed firsthand how these critical organizations are providing second chances to Kentuckians who are working hard to seek treatment, get healthy and build better lives for their families.

We passed landmark legislation to address the resurgence of heroin. The legislation increased penalties for traffickers, created a Good Samaritan provision for those who called to report an overdose, provided heroin overdose reversal kits to law enforcement and health care facilities, increased funding for treatment, and allowed communities the option to develop needle exchanges to stop the spread of disease.

We cannot arrest our way out of the drug addiction problem that’s plaguing Kentucky – there aren’t enough courtroom and there aren’t enough jail cells. I’ve always said that in order to break the cycle of addiction, we must invest in both treatment and education. As Attorney General, I’ve done both. I’ve traveled across Kentucky with parents who lost children to drug overdoses. We talked face-to-face with children at our middle and high schools about the dangers of prescription drug and heroin abuse. We reached more than 50,000 students, teachers, and parents through our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program. Many children in these schools shared personal stories with me about how their families have been broken by prescription drug abuse. I carry their stories with me, and I am incredibly proud of their resilience and commitment to writing a new chapter in their families’ histories.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreJack Conway’s Final Monthly Column

State Democrats Are Still In Major Denial

It’s always the rich white guys who fight minimum wage increases. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray declined to say Wednesday if he would sign an ordinance raising the minimum wage in Fayette County to $10.10 an hour over the next three years. [H-L]

Separation of church and state? Republican presidential candidate John Kasich says he’d set up an agency with a “mandate” to promote what he calls “Judeo-Christian values” overseas to counter Islamist propaganda. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Republicans announced Thursday morning that state Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville is switching parties, putting the GOP one seat closer to capturing the House majority in the wake of Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s victory. [C-J/AKN]

What was that about Rand Paul valuing your privacy? When someone downloads the official Ben Carson, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul campaign apps, they’re handing over personal information that can be shared with any group that has “similar viewpoints” as those candidates. For Cruz supporters, that means giving your data to a British-based company that specializes in psychological warfare. [Vocativ]

Kentucky’s preliminary October 2015 unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from a seasonally adjusted 5 percent in September 2015, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Kentucky’s jobless rate had not been that low since May 2001 when it was 4.9 percent. [Press Release]

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life. [Politico]

Kentucky Democrats just didn’t want to listen. Now all good old boy hell is breaking loose. [House Republicans]

Are you ready for more HYSTERIA OMG SYRIAN MUSLIM REFUGEE PANIC?! Cool, because Fox News lady windsock Andrea Tantaros went to work Wednesday. [Wonkette]

The 911 services throughout Kentucky are straining county budgets because of an outdated funding mechanism, county government representatives told state legislators on Wednesday. [WFPL]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… DNA extracted from a skull and a molar tooth of ancient human remains discovered in the southern Caucasus region of Georgia is helping sort out the multifaceted ancestry of modern Europeans. [Reuters]

Council members met in closed session Monday night with members of the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County’s board of directors to discuss the acquisition of real estate. [Glasgow Daily Times]

President Obama is moving to cement a significant legacy in the fight against smoking. Despite Obama’s own struggles with cigarettes, many public health advocates see him as a champion on the issue, and a series of proposals in the waning months of his presidency could bolster his record. [The Hill]

Democrat Jack Conway spent nearly twice as much as Republican Matt Bevin on TV ads, but it was not enough to get him elected governor. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the Senate’s biggest defense hawks, on Tuesday rejected calls by some Republicans that the U.S. accept only Christian refugees fleeing Syria, not Muslims. [HuffPo]

On Bevin Killing Health Care For You…

As Democrats wring their hands over Jack Conway’s tremendous political failure, there’s this from the Herald-Leader:

Democrats never campaigned on what was hailed far and wide as Kentucky’s health-care success story. Conway made little effort to educate the public about the heavy costs of Kentucky’s high rates of disease and disability or the brighter future that awaits healthier workers and their state. Did you see a single ad in which Conway stood beside someone like the unemployed mechanic in Pikeville and said I will fight for your right to health care? Neither did we.

If anything, Conway and his fellow Democrats ran from their health-care successes because of the association with Obama.


Democrats can’t expect voters to pay attention to the issues when their own candidates shy away from showcasing the most crucial difference in an election.

It’s been the same thing for more than a decade. Always Republican-lite, never Democratic-center.

And when it came to anything related to President Barack Obama? OH GOD! SCARY BLACK MAN! RENOUNCE HIM!

Like the editorial suggests, people didn’t necessarily knowingly vote against their own interests. They voted on fear.

Just as Matt Bevin can’t comprehend that gay people aren’t trying to kidnap him and redecorate his house, there are still people who can’t comprehend that Obamacare and kynect are one and the same.

Fear works. Appealing to rural Kentucky’s xenophobia always works when there’s no one to wake folks up to reality.

If anyone doubts it, check any comment section anywhere the past week.

All Eyes On Appalachia As Stivers Embarrasses, Abandons His Suffering Constituents

Construction on a Noah’s Ark attraction in northern Kentucky is sailing along, and the builders say they’re ready to announce an opening date. [H-L]

The prevailing view that addiction is a disease, just like depression or diabetes, is wrong, according to a leading neuroscientist. Marc Lewis, the author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain and The Biology of Desire, insists that addiction is not a disease and that presenting it as such is harmful. [HuffPo]

Oh, man, Dan Johnson really let Jack Conway have it in his letter to the editor. [C-J/AKN]

America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs. In the first of a series of dispatches from the US’s poorest communities, we visit Beattyville, Kentucky, blighted by a lack of jobs and addiction to ‘hillbilly heroin’. [The Guardian]

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s pledge to scale back the Medicaid expansion and dismantle Kynect, Kentucky’s award-winning health insurance exchange, has caused concern among health clinics. [Business First]

Senate Republicans are divided over how far to go with an ObamaCare repeal bill that they plan to send to the president’s desk by year’s end. [The Hill]

Bob Stivers, one of the most gluttonous hypocrites in Frankfort, represents one of Kentucky’s poorest regions. So here he is advocating FOR killing health care by claiming the savings will help shore up the troubled pension system. Still wondering why his staff have slowly abandoned him over the past few years? Now you know. [CN|Toot]

The advertisement portrays the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a roomful of bureaucratic automatons mercilessly stamping “DENIED” on loan applications, beneath Soviet-style banners depicting CFPB’s director, Richard Cordray, and its principal architect, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. But the ad does not disclose that the group sponsoring it is led by lobbyists for Navient, a student loan company that the CFPB is currently investigating for allegedly cheating student loan borrowers. [The Intercept]

Kentucky’s latest quarterly coal report shows new recent lows in the state’s coal employment and production. During the third quarter of 2015, Kentucky’s mines employed only 9,356 workers — a more than 50 percent decline from this quarter in 2011. Coal production is also at the lowest point since the 1960s. [WFPL]

David Bass, who served 21 years in the U.S. Army, says he tried medical marijuana in a moment of desperation. He suffered from chronic pain and PTSD as a result of multiple active duty tours in Iraq, and his doctor at the VA gave him intense narcotic and psychotropic drugs. [ThinkProgress]

The Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission became one of two tourist commissions that have agreed to help fund the salary of an administrative assistant who will help with the development of a master plan to connect area trails. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At the end of June, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot kicked off an investigation into the potential effects of Agent Orange on the children and grandchildren of Vietnam War-era veterans. [ProPublica]

As Fox Business News was cutting away to commercial almost an hour into Tuesday night’s Republican debate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul could be seen walking toward the moderators. [H-L]

Undercover video recorded by an animal rights activist at one of the largest U.S. pork producers appears to show pigs being beaten and dragged across the slaughterhouse floor as workers cheer and throw blood-soaked towels at one another. [HuffPo]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. [Ting]

Democrats Freaking Out, Republicans Kissing Butt

How could anyone be shocked that Jack Conway didn’t take more people down with him? He didn’t campaign alongside the rest of the slate on any occasion that’s rememberable. Heck, he didn’t even campaign. He hid out in his Glenview estate in that haughty community overlooking the river. What people knew of Jack Conway, they didn’t like. And by people? We mean Democrats. Democrats disliked him enough not to vote for him. [H-L]

British spies would be allowed to legally hack into smartphones and computers under the Tory government’s new surveillance law. Telecoms firms will be forced to help MI5, the domestic intelligence agency; MI6, overseas intelligence; and the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters use James Bond-style “equipment interference” — remotely accessing phones and using them as listening devices — as part of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. [HuffPo]

Perhaps the biggest test that Gov.-elect Matt Bevin will face early in his administration will be whether he can fulfill his promise to remake Gov. Steve Beshear’s expansion of Medicaid. [C-J/AKN]

I would be careful of making too much of the Kentucky results. Only three polls not sponsored by a candidate came out during the final three weeks of the campaign. That’s far less polling than was conducted in other recent polling mishaps, such as in Israel and the United Kingdom over the past year. The Kentucky results match most of the bigger misses in the U.S. during the 2014 midterm elections, such as in the Maryland gubernatorial race and Virginia Senate election, when few polls were released during the final weeks of the campaign.1 That’s a good thing for 2016, when the most highly anticipated races will have lots of polls in the field. [FiveThirtyEight]

Shorter Matt Bevin: Screw the poors and screw the gays! Governor-elect Matt Bevin on Friday announced the early priorities of his administration — dismantling the state-run health exchange and removing county clerk’s names from marriage licenses. [WFPL]

By most accounts, Kentucky’s implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform was a success. Tuesday’s elections in the state could mean big changes are coming, however – with ominous portents for the future of the president’s signature legislative achievement. [BBC]

It has been two years since President Barack Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014, which included a provision legitimizing research into industrial hemp. Since then, Kentucky has been among the most active states taking steps to prepare for the potential legalization of the crop with an ambitious pilot program aimed at once again putting the state at the forefront of production. But in Barren County, industrial hemp has yet to make an appearance. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Recording and mixing music are Vernon Thomas’ passions, but being CEO and producer of Mantree Records isn’t his day job. He’s an HIV outreach worker for a county health department outside Newark, N.J. He took what was to be a full-time job in May because the gig came with health insurance — and he has HIV himself. [NPR]

It’s fun watching Ellen Williams praise Matt Bevin after spending years trashing the bigot of a man up one side and down the other. Ellen Williams, the former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, knows a thing or two about winning elections. This week she offered an insight to Matt Bevin’s appeal in his surprising win in the governor’s election. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City said this week that he would run millions of dollars in political television ads against four state attorneys general who are suing the Obama administration over regulations on power plant emissions. [NY Times]

Stan Lee, R-Gay Panic, is sponsoring legislation in the 2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly that if passed would allow students who are home schooled the ability to play sports in their public school district. Because what public school kids need is to be exposed to half-literate religious extremist children. [Richmond Register]

The coalition soldiers arrived on a dusty ridge line east of this city near dusk, as a cool breeze swept in from the hazy desert plain that stretched for miles below. Fighting positions likely dug decades ago by the Russian military sat at the edge of the ridge, and were marked with numerous stones painted bright blue on one side. [WaPo]

Blair Wilson walked into a storefront at a Louisville mall. An hour later, she walked out with Medicaid coverage for herself and her father, who lost his insurance this year after two strokes. [H-L]

The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders released its internal report on Thursday about the October attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The report also revealed that pilots shot at staff members fleeing the hospital. [HuffPo]

Really? Blaming Voting Machines For Bevin?

Holy hell at the delusion outside Kentucky:

As detailed on today’s program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races — for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway’s current job) and even state Auditor — each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a “significant anomaly”. She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov’s race “has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top…that just doesn’t happen.”

It’s almost as if these people have no ability to grasp the fact that people just didn’t vote for governor because the candidates sucked.

This is not rare. Happened in 2011 when Jamie Comer raked in something like 60K more votes than Steve Beshear. Happened last year when people avoided Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes.


[O]ne scenario worth investigating and paying attention to concerns identifying the contractors who programmed the voting machines, especially in rural areas that were likely to see GP majorities but perhaps not by as much as were reported in the vote totals. That suggestion is based on a 2005 investigation and 2006 book, What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud, by co-authors Bob Fitrakis, Steven Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, into how the GOP suppressed and stole votes in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election.


Rural Kentucky almost always votes for the most bigoted, backwater, delusional candidate. That’s how it works. Kentucky Democrats are further to the right of national Republicans.

Spoiler alert: SurveyUSA was wrong. So wrong that its media partners kicked it to the curb. The polls were wrong.

This is how Kentucky voted, like it or not. It’s not some liberal utopia. The Commonwealth is where a majority of Democrats admit to voting on the basis of race. The state where Democrats made the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendment a reality. Kentucky is where Jack Conway ran as teabagger-light twice and got his ass handed to him by actual teabaggers both times.

This isn’t Florida. There are no hanging chads. The race wasn’t even close.

But this is how it always goes. Blame someone else.

Oh, wait, it gets worse:

Some of the arguments I’ve heard are that Conway ran away from the Affordable Care Act. Okay, but so did Alison Lundergan Grimes in her Senate race against McConnell.

Alison ran during a national election in 2014. She barely showed her face in 2015.

There was an independent candidate who got 35,629 votes. Even if those had all gone to Conway, it still would have been less than the number of votes Grimes and Beshear received.

Because tons of people chose not to vote for governor. The candidates running were terrible. See: the result.

I’ve heard that Conway was linked up with Obama and so the kneejerk reaction was to vote for his opponent. Okay, but Steve Beshear embraced Obama and the Affordable Care Act and didn’t have a problem getting elected.

Steve Beshear never embraced Barack Obama. In fact, he spent millions of taxpayer dollars to come up with the “kynect” branding in order to run quickly away from anything called “Obama” — and he continues to do so today. Steve Beshear, during his second campaign, faced DAVID WILLIAMS and RICHIE FARMER. Good grief. A frozen dog turd could have beat those two. And Richie’s sitting in prison at the moment.

Name recognition? Alison Grimes and Andy Beshear are from long-time Kentucky political families. But Conway was the Attorney General. It’s not like he was a disappearing snowflake there.

Conway is well-known and not popular. See: his race against Anne Northup, his race against Rand Paul, his race against Matt Bevin.

At first, I thought maybe it was the Kim Davis debacle, given that Conway played a role in the whole hoopla around that. But he won Davis’ county by three percentage points, so it’s not that either.

Rowan County is home to Morehead and Morehead State University. It’s long been a progressive haven in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Progressives outnumber mouth-breathers there. Suggesting the county is filled with backwater yokels because Kim Davis lives there is… what? Go there. Read about it. Kim Davis is a Rowan County anomaly. For outsiders wondering about my credentials: I was born in Morehead and lived within 20min of Morehead for 18 years. I’m there more frequently than I care to admit. Morehead and West Liberty are the center of my universe.

In order to believe these results as they are right now, we have to believe Democrats split the ticket and voted for Dems everywhere but the Governor’s race. I’m not sure I buy that.

Again, look at the 2011 results.

Or look at the 2014 results when gobs of people in Louisville chose not to vote in the U.S. Senate race for Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes but still voted for Congressman John Yarmuth.

You know what that leaves for me? Voting machines.

Oh, yeah, it’s voting machines in Kentucky that caused these results and not the Kentucky Democratic Party that runs to the right of everything out of fear. Has nothing at all to do with Jack Conway lying out his ass about supporting every right-wing thing his campaign folks could come up with. Nothing at all to do with the fact that Kentuckians can smell a phony politician from a mile away. Matt Bevin may be a lying, backward, bigoted, cockfight-attending teabagger but Kentuckians could tell he was honest about his stupidity. Jack was faking it.

The stakes were high in Kentucky. Governor Steve Beshear had embraced the Affordable Care Act, Kynect is a rousing success in a red state. Beshear expanded Medicaid by executive order.

Bevin promised to undo all of that. Unwind it. Lock, stock and barrel. Why on earth would Kentucky voters vote against their own interests and split their ticket to do it?

Maybe because the handful of people who voted in the election are easily manipulated and terrified? Maybe they’re the folks who live Fox News 24/7 and believe that President Barack Obama is an undocumented Muslim immigrant from Kenya?

Pro-tip: Kentuckians oppose “Obamacare” by huge numbers but love “kynect” — it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what went wrong.

This is Kentucky, after all. It’s not as if we haven’t seen malfeasance at the voting machines before.

A dozen votes in Magoffin County — land of racists, pills and walking around money — is par for the course. People go to jail for vote buying almost every election in the mountains. But here’s the deal: it’s the Democrats in Eastern Kentucky always going to jail for small time fraud.

Jesus H.

If it’s not neocon teabaggers screaming about the gays ruining everything, it’s hypocritical liberals crying and blaming voting machines.

The blame needs to be laid at the feet of the Kentucky Democratic Party. It’s been controlled the last few years by Steve Beshear and Jack Conway. Their people. Their team. They’ve run, despite Jack Conway stepping up ONCE, consistently from equality, consistently from their national party, consistently from the environment, consistently from common sense. Always toward guns, always toward theocracy, always toward the lowest common denominator.

And we can’t forget the DGA. Those folks coughed up a press release immediately after the election blaming Conway’s loss on DONALD TRUMP. You can’t make that shit up. That’s how disconnected D.C. is from Kentucky. Probably why the rest of the nation looks at Kentucky with extreme prejudice and confusion.

All of this is almost as funny as the Democrats who blame Drew Curtis for their loss.

Next up, Democrats blame the media and then resort to blaming individuals when that fails. They did it in 2010 and they’ll do it again.

Powell Mess Could Have Impacted Votes

Many following the Montgomery County saga have asked how the Powell/MoCo mess could have impacted the vote in Montgomery County.

I loosely addressed it in the comments here but it’s worth looking at again.


  • Bevin — 3,271
  • Conway — 2,479
  • Curtis — 240

Jack Conway lost to Matt Bevin by 792 votes


  • Harmon — 2,699
  • Edelen — 3,049

Adam Edelen beat Mike Harmon by 350 votes

As previously suggested by a commenter, it could easily be argued that Conway lost to Bevin in Montgomery County because of his inaction on the Powell front. By the same token, it’s easy to argue that Edelen won because he did take action re: Powell and made his staff available in an attempt to hold him accountable.

As we’ve previously reported, Edelen has referred more than 100 cases to Conway’s office that have seen no action.

When you compare those two races to the race for Attorney General, things get interesting:

Attorney General

  • Westerfield — 2,982
  • Beshear — 2,884

Both Westerfield and Beshear got about the same number of votes because both candidates made it a point to tell voters in the county that they took the Powell mess seriously.

Beshear appears to have taken it the most seriously and his people have continually said they plan to take action.

Again, this is all speculation. Any number of factors come into play. And any factor, when singled out, can be used to explain a win or loss. But it’s certainly easy to use the Powell mess — in part because it’s one of the biggest scandals the county has ever seen — as a way to explain Jack Conway’s loss there.