Politics & Government

Former Patton aide seeks AG office

FRANKFORT - Louisville attorney Jack Conway, an aide to former Gov. Paul Patton, will seek the office being vacated by Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

Conway, a Democrat, said yesterday that he will file papers with the secretary of state's office and hold a rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 11:30 a.m. today.

"It's an exciting job and one where I really think I can make a difference," said Conway, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Republican Anne Northup in 2002.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington appears poised to enter the Republican primary for attorney general.

Lee has called a news conference for 1 p.m. today in the Capitol to "announce his plans for 2007."

The Lexington attorney would not confirm that he will attempt to become the state's chief law enforcement officer, but said he continues to "strongly lean toward" running.

Lee, recently elected by his colleagues as House minority whip, is best known for proposing conservative measures that would crack down on illegal immigration. He also has filed legislation that would prohibit state universities from offering health benefits to unmarried couples.

Lee would face three other Republicans in the primary: Jon Larson, a Lexington criminal-defense attorney; Tim Coleman, the commonwealth's attorney from Butler County; and Louisville attorney Philip C. Kimball, who filed to seek the office yesterday. Kimball finished third last fall in a three-way race for the 4th District state Supreme Court seat, and second in a three-way race for the 2003 Republican primary for attorney general.

Conway, the former deputy secretary of Patton's cabinet, said he will run for the office "not as a partisan, but as a responsible prosecutor."

Conway said he believes Stumbo was right to investigate the hiring practices of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration, noting that "a whistle-blower brought a complaint to him."

He declined to comment on Stumbo's decision to cut a deal last year that dismissed charges against Fletcher, saying he doesn't know all the facts that were before Stumbo at the time.

Although he spoke with Stumbo on Friday evening, Conway said he did not seek his endorsement.

Conway said he hopes to continue Stumbo's "aggressive" enforcement against illegal drug shipments by Internet pharmacies. He also intends to advocate on behalf of prosecutors around the state for "adequate budgets."

Conway will face Robert Bullock, a longtime assistant attorney general, in the Democratic primary.

Candidates who filed for other statewide races yesterday include:

 Former state Rep. Mike Weaver of Elizabethtown, who became the fourth Democrat to file for treasurer, a post being vacated by gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Miller.

 State Rep. Lonnie Napier of Lancaster, who became the fourth Republican to file for treasurer. Napier announced his candidacy Saturday during a Garrard County rally.

 Retiree Don Stosberg of Frankfort, who will challenge incumbent Richie Farmer for the Republican nomination for commissioner of agriculture. Stosberg is a former budget analyst for the Legislative Research Commission; he retired last year as executive director of the Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society.

 David Lynn Williams of Glasgow, who will seek the Democratic nomination for commissioner of agriculture. Williams has previously run failed campaigns for U.S. Senate and governor.