OWENSBORO — It was a rarity in the 2015 Kentucky governor's race — Jack Conway and Matt Bevin spoke to a crowd and avoided taking direct shots at each other.
The two major-party candidates joined the majority of candidates running for statewide office in their last joint appearance before Tuesday's election, appearing at the Red, White and Blue picnic and asking a chilly crowd of a few hundred people for their votes.
Bevin, speaking first, largely avoided direct criticism of Conway, instead touting his endorsements from Kentucky Right to Life and the National Rifle Association and pleading with the crowd to vote.
"You'll have a distinct choice," Bevin said. "We're two very different people. But make sure you vote."
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Closing this race the same way he has the last two in which he's run, Bevin railed against low turnout and voter apathy, telling the crowd, "Shame on us."
"We say we want a better Kentucky," Bevin said. "We say we want a better America. How badly do we want it?"
Bevin, who in the race's closing days has increased talk of his social conservatism, told the crowd he was "pro-life, and I'm unapologetic about it."
With his wife, an Owensboro native, by his side, Conway took indirect swipes at Bevin without mentioning his opponent by name.
"I have released my tax returns, and I have the right temperament to be the next governor of Kentucky," Conway said.
Paying tribute to the late Wendell Ford, the former governor and longtime U.S. senator from Owensboro, Conway mentioned his former mentor as having described a run for governor being "like running for county judge in 120 counties."
"I now know what he meant," Conway said.
The Democratic attorney general talked at length about his record and touted the Republicans who have publicly endorsed his candidacy.
"We feel the momentum," Conway said. "And I'm honored that I'm getting so much support from Republicans."
After the event, Bevin took a tougher approach on Conway, boasting of his conservatism on social issues and telling reporters that his opponent would continue the liberal policies of President Barack Obama.
Despite confirming to The Associated Press just days ago that he had been late paying his personal and corporate taxes at least 30 times, Bevin said when asked that that wasn't true.
The latest Bluegrass poll, released Wednesday, showed Conway leading Bevin 45 percent to 40 percent, with independent candidate Drew Curtis pulling 6 percent.
The Red, White and Blue picnic is an annual event in Owensboro hosted by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.