Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cross fingers Conway for some of Mongiardo's lack of enthusiasm

Some on the blogosphere have been critical of Mongiardo for not getting behind Jack Conway. But Al Cross reports in the C-J on a potential reason for staying on the sidelines:

...a chain of events that began the day after the election has Conway scrambling to bring into his tent Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, who lost the primary by 4,174 votes, 0.8 percent of the total, and said last week that he might not endorse Conway.

The margin was small enough to prompt an automatic recanvass in many states, and Mongiardo said the morning after the primary that he would ask for one. Conway's camp said that would complicate its efforts to start fund-raising for the general election, so a deal was struck: Mongiardo forsook the recanvass in return for Conway's pledge to help raise $70,000 for Mongiardo's campaign, according to advisers in both camps. The agreement did not call for Mongiardo to endorse Conway, but was the beginning of a process that would naturally lead to an endorsement.

The agreement was made not by the principals but by aides and intermediaries, who apparently didn't nail down an important detail -- when the money would be delivered. At more than one point, Mongiardo's camp mentioned a deadline of June 30, the end of the latest campaign finance reporting period. The Conway campaign apparently failed to get that message early enough, or dismissed it, perhaps wanting to focus on raising and reporting as much as possible for the period.

The deadline and specific figure indicate Mongiardo's campaign not only had debts to pay, but needed to make refunds to contributors who had given him money that he spent on the primary but had to be earmarked for the general election because they had given the maximum allowed for the primary. With no money on hand from Conway, Mongiardo may have had to tap his own funds.

Mongiardo seems to view the chain of events as the latest sign of disrespect from a Kentucky Democratic establishment that gave him no chance to beat Republican Sen. Jim Bunning in 2004, which he almost did, and that largely lined up behind Conway in the primary. He told The Associated Press last week, "I feel that in this state there are two Democratic parties. There's the party of the elite, and then there's the party of the rest of us, the grass-roots Democrats." That was more than just the petulance and hurt of a defeated candidate who is known for being impetuous and difficult to deal with. It was a warning.


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