- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Jack Conway stuck to the script and Matt Bevin continued his seemingly spontaneous campaign during an hour-long debate before the rabid fans of Big Blue Nation on the state’s most popular sports talk radio show.

Conway, a Democrat, reiterated his positions on topics including early childhood education and health care. He refused to say who he would vote for president if the election were held today, saying only he would support the Democratic nominee.

Bevin, the Republican candidate, offered yet another answer to a question about the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, saying the 440,000 people who were added under the federal Affordable Care Act could stay but no new people would be added. He later clarified everyone would have to re-enroll again under a new program.

He said he would vote for Ben Carson for president, despite his campaign announcing just minutes earlier that fellow Republican and Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul would campaign with Bevin on Saturday.

“I’m looking at people I think would have best chance of uniting all the pieces,” Bevin told host Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, a show broadcast to 35 affiliates across the state. “I think the world of Rand. He’s a friend of mine. But in terms of who I would select right now for the next president, (Paul) would not be the first choice I would make.”

“That’s going to make for a testy campaign event this weekend, Matt,” Conway added with a smile once Bevin finished his answer.

After the debate, Bevin clarified his statement on Twitter: “To be clear … I like Ben Carson, but am not endorsing him or anyone for (president).” Bevin said if he ever did endorse someone, he would endorse Paul.

Independent candidate Drew Curtis said he would vote for Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman who has upended the Republican establishment with his unorthodox campaign.

“I’m the only one of us that has the word ‘independent’ beside their name on this ballot,” Curtis said. “The other two are dependent upon their parties for their policy and their support.”

Bevin and Conway had some particularly testy exchanges throughout the debate with about one month to go in the country’s most competitive governor’s race. Bevin hammered Conway for being “forced by the African-American community” to hold Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear accountable for not appointing black people to the University of Louisville board of trustees, a violation of state law.

“You say you put people over politics, but you have done the exact opposite,” Bevin said. “You are not doing your job.”

Conway- the state attorney general - released an advisory opinion saying Beshear broke the law. Beshear then announced the resignation of a white University of Louisville trustee and said he would appoint a black person to replace him.

“When I’m governor I will make sure there are African-Americans appointed to that board,” Conway said.

Conway continued to blast Bevin for refusing to release his tax returns. Jones, the host, said he could only find one example in the past 60 years of a candidate not releasing his or her personal income tax returns in Kentucky, and the candidate eventually did it.

Bevin said his taxes are “frankly not the business of people to go into what I have done or not done with my money,” adding if he did release his tax returns “you would find I make a lot less money than Jack Conway and give a lot more to charity.”

The Courier-Journal reported Bevin’s net worth was between $13.4 million and $54.9 million based on forms he filed with the U.S. Senate during the 2014 primary. Conway earned $4.1 million in 2014, income mostly from the sale of his massive stock holdings in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners.

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