Attorney General Jack Conway isn't waiting any longer to see which Republican he will face in the fall election for governor.
On Tuesday, hours before the polls closed, the Democrat was meeting with small business owners in Lexington and kick-starting his campaign after months of watching the combative GOP primary.
"I've been sitting over there on the sideline, waiting for my turn, but I'm chomping at the bit," Conway said. "I'm ready to go."
In an interview with the Herald-Leader, the presumptive Democratic nominee — Conway has faced minimal opposition from perennial candidate Geoff Young of Lexington — made clear that he plans to focus on the economy and jobs as the general election gets started Wednesday.
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"I have been saying now for weeks now, this election's going to be about jobs, jobs and more good-paying jobs," Conway said.
The attorney general, after voting Tuesday morning in Louisville, visited Northern Kentucky before joining employees at Fusioncorp Design Creative Solutions, a small digital technology and website-design company in Lexington.
Conway, taking his suit coat off to reveal fleur-de-lis cuff links, listened as employees of the company, which started with one man in a janitorial closet on Harrodsburg Road, described their challenges in finding a qualified work force.
"I think the Republicans are doing a really good job of being the party of big, big, big business, especially big business that writes corporate checks that comes in in the form of dark money into places like Kentucky," Conway said after the roundtable. "But I think Democrats in a state like this ought to be the party of small business and medium-sized businesses.
"That's part of what I'm going to be talking about for the next 168 days," he said.
Conway said he does not have a preference as to which of the four Republicans running for the nomination he will face, but he acknowledged that the tone of that race — polluted by allegations of abuse and unseemly coordination — has helped enhance his starting position.
"I think I start out in a strong position," he said. "I think I started out in a strong position to begin with."
When asked whether he anticipates as nasty a fall campaign as the Republicans have slogged through this spring, Conway said, "I hope not."
"I think there will be some strong contrasts, some very strong contrasts," he said.
If he faces off against Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who spent the last few weeks of the Republican primary season denying allegations that he abused his college girlfriend, Conway said he does not intend to begin his campaign by making that an issue.
"I hope not. I don't know," he said. "I haven't made any judgments on that. I mean the voters are going to have to decide who they believe in that. I'm not going to start off getting embroiled in all the stuff that they've gotten themselves embroiled in. I'm going to focus on what the people of Kentucky need.
"I will defend myself if attacked, but I'm going to kick my campaign off talking about the things Kentuckians want to hear."