The National Republican Senatorial Committee is making hay out of Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo‘s delayed endorsement of his former primary rival, Attorney General Jack Conway.

First, a rundown of the situation, from the C-J:

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo said Wednesday that “trust” will be the key factor in his decision about whether to endorse fellow Democrat Jack Conway in the Senate race after he says Conway reneged on a deal to help him pay off about $80,000 in campaign debt.

“It’s my understanding that something is happening (to resolve the dispute), but I … haven’t seen a check,” said Mongiardo, who lost narrowly to Conway in the May 18 Democratic primary.

Mongiardo said he doesn’t know if it was his or Conway’s advisers, or national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee officials, who brought up the idea of paying off the campaign debt.

But, he said, during discussions the day after his narrow primary loss to Conway that a deal was reached in which he would drop his request for a recanvass and, in return, Conway would help him retire his debt.

“Once they brought it to me, I agreed to it,” he said.

Conway has denied that there was ever an agreement to help Mongiardo raise the money. But Conway has acknowledged that the subject of paying off Mongiardo’s campaign debt may have come up during discussions that led to Mongiardo’s decision not to seek a recanvass of voting machines in his narrow primary election loss to Conway.

It’s the NRSC’s job to highlight anything that could weaken the Democratic campaign. They’ve routinely mentioned the lack of an endorsement, indicating that Conway is a weak candidate, and not as appealing–even to his fellow Democrats–as Republican candidate Rand Paul.

Today, the committee released this statement:

Relations between the two have grown increasingly bitter since the primary. Mongiardo, for example, kept active his campaign website, including attacks on Conway, for several weeks after the election, and he refused to withdraw a complaint he filed against Conway with the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Do you think the situation will hurt Conway in the fall? There was a lot of talk about poor party unity in the 2008 Presidential race after Barack Obama won the nomination over Hillary Clinton, and it seems those fences were mended.

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