Americans for Prosperity says Jack Conway would lead Kentucky in wrong direction in pre-Fancy Farm Web ad, mailer

07/25/2015 01:37 PM

The Kentucky chapter of the conservative 501(c )(4) Americans for Prosperity has launched a digital and direct-mail campaign ahead of this year’s Fancy Farm festivities, hoping to connect Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway with President Barack Obama in the minds of voters.

AFP released a digital ad titled “You’re Going The Wrong Way, Jack Conway” on Friday, depicting Conway as a supporter of cap-and-trade legislation, the Affordable Care Act and high-dollar government spending.

Julia Crigler, AFP Kentucky state director, said the group has “made a significant investment” in the Web ad to reach a statewide audience.

“Looks like President Obama’s hopping in,” a narrator says in the one minute, 10 second Web ad as an animated convertible with Conway and Obama heads west on a map of the state. “No matter which way he goes, Jack Conway is leading Kentucky the wrong way.”

The ad also highlights Conway’s 2009 Fancy Farm speech, which caused organizers to explicitly ban profanity from candidates’ and constitutional officers’ remarks after he called himself “one tough son of a bitch” in response to hecklers.

The Wed ad can be viewed here:

AFP will also send direct-mail pieces to about 20,000 residents next week, inviting them to the annual Fancy Farm picnic on Aug. 1.

Here’s a copy of the mailer, which was included in a news release on AFP’s pre-Fancy Farm ads.

The AFP ad and direct mailer follow a television ad from the Republican Governors Association hammering Conway on both cap and trade and the federal health law. That TV ad drew fire from Democrats, who said the spot featured stock footage of Mexican miners.

Conway told the Kentucky Farm Bureau board of directors on Thursday that changes need to be made to the state’s implementation of provisions of the ACA, which include the state-based exchange kynect and Medicaid expansion. But he did not provide specific examples, saying he would monitor the situation if elected.

During his run for U.S. Senate in 2010, Conway tempered his support for a cap-and-trade bill that ultimately failed to pass Congress, saying he would back the legislation if Kentucky’s energy interests are protected. His decision to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its proposed rules on greenhouse gas emissions has also been heavily stressed on the trail.

For Crigler, Conway’s current and previous stances on energy, health care and other topics deserve attention during Conway’s gubernatorial campaign, which pits him against Republican Matt Bevin in the Nov. 3 election.

“As I think most folks in Kentucky know, Fancy Farm is really the kickoff to people starting to tune in to the governor’s race, and Jack Conway clearly has some policy stances that we want to make sure people are aware of because we think they’re pointing Kentucky in the wrong direction,” she said in a phone interview.

“The video is really just to invite people across the state to join us at Fancy Farm and let Jack Conway know we don’t want to go the wrong way.”

Conway campaign spokesman Daniel Kemp accused the group of misleading voters on the Democrat’s record.

“No amount of false attacks from Matt Bevin’s East Coast allies will distract from Bevin’s own very real failure to pay his taxes, his refusal to release his tax returns and his opposition to early childhood education,” Kemp said in a statement. “Here in Kentucky, we know that Attorney General Conway is an independent leader who always puts Kentucky first, and that we can’t trust an East Coast Con Man like Bevin to look out for us.”

Crigler countered that her group’s message “is very relevant” in the election.

“And I think people in Kentucky deserve to know where he stands on issues such as Obamacare and cap and trade,” she said. “We feel like he’s turned towards Washington and away from Kentucky.”

The Conway campaign also looked to make political hay out of AFP’s entry in the governor’s race, hoping to raise $5,000 in the next two days based on news of the attacks.

In a campaign email Saturday, Conway’s campaign said the group, founded by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, is trying “to bail out Matt Bevin by launching negative attacks ahead of Fancy Farm.”

“We just found out that — ahead of Fancy Farm — the Koch brothers have launched attacks against Jack and Sannie,” the campaign email reads. “They’re willing to do whatever it takes to distract Kentuckians from Matt Bevin’s failure to pay his own taxes.

“If we want to ensure that Kentucky has a governor who puts people ahead of politics and leads with integrity, we have to raise $5,000 in the next 48 hours. Friend, can you click here and rush an emergency contribution to Jack and Sannie’s campaign before Monday at noon?”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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