Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway, who refused to appeal a decision striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, has announced a run for governor — and he doesn’t think his support for marriage equality will be a liability.
“I think in the fall of 2015 that will not be the big issue,” Conway, who announced his candidacy Tuesday, told the Associated Press. “I think the voters will be more interested in building Kentucky’s future than in reliving all of that.” Those who criticize his stance on marriage equality will “do so at their own peril,” he said.
In March, Conway said he would not appeal the February ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declaring that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. “Judge Heyburn got it right,” Conway said at the time. Defending the ban would be defending discrimination, and “that I will not do,” he added. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside lawyers to handle the appeal, and the ruling is on hold while the appeal process continues.
Conway, a Democrat, has been elected attorney general twice, and “by comfortable margins,” the AP notes. He has run for federal office twice without success, although he nearly defeated incumbent Republican Ann Northup in a race for Congress in 2002, then lost to Rand Paul in the U.S. Senate contest in 2010.
Conway is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for governor; Beshear, also a Democrat, cannot run again due to term limits. State representative Sannie Overly will be Conway’s running mate. The only Republican to announce so far is Hal Heiner, a former member of the Louisville Metro Council.
The primary will be held May 19, 2015, and the general election November 3, 2015.