As RGA goes dark Bevin fumes at reporter; Conway sticks with campaign strategy

09/29/2015 10:10 PM

LEXINGTON — Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin took aim at journalists on Tuesday when confronted with questions about the state of his candidacy heading down the home stretch.

With nearly a month left in the race, the Republican Governor’s Association has stopped running ads, leaving Bevin for now to fend for himself against a fully primed Democratic ad barrage from Jack Conway and independent expenditure groups supporting his candidacy.

On Tuesday, Bevin and Conway spoke before nearly 200 educators, advocates, lawmakers and the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville presidents at the Governor’s Conference of Postsecondary Education Trusteeship conference.

After the event Pure Politics attempted to speak with Bevin about his campaign in the wake of losing one of their biggest supporters and until last week the only group on the air in support of Bevin.

Bevin balked at the question from Pure Politics, calling it “a distraction” and saying his focus was on the event he was leaving.

It’s not the first time Bevin has chosen to disparage a reporter rather than answer a question. Two weeks ago the campaign brought in Jessica Ditto in an effort to smooth frayed relationships between Bevin and the press.

A few hours after the comments to Pure Politics, Bevin attended a joint fundraiser in benefit of his campaign and the Republican Party of Kentucky headlined by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Pure Politics did attempt to ask Bevin a question about education policy, but he turned his back on the camera and walked away — though he did turn back around thanking reporters.

Meanwhile, Conway has already spent more than $3 million in advertising in the campaign with another $1 million combined airing in support of Conway over the next week. Bevin has made a buy totaling nearly $78,000 over the next week, according to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader. His campaign has only run one ad so far in the general election.

At the event, Conway told Pure Politics that his plan is to “continue to execute our strategy” when asked if now is the time to trounce Bevin on the airwaves.

“I think it speaks volumes that we went up with our ads in July, we went up positive, and the Republican Governor’s Association had a bunch of that dark undisclosed corporate money coming from Lord knows where from all around the country trying to distort my record, claimed I’ve supported things that haven’t been true,” Conway said.

“This race isn’t about the White House. This race is about who’s in control of the people’s house of Kentucky,” he continued.

Conway speculated that the RGA saw internal poll numbers with Conway in the lead and bowed out of the race — though it could also be that Bevin has not invested much on the airwaves and the group decided to pull stakes and compete in other states.

Bevin and Conway will face-off in a live radio debate on Wednesday hosted by Kentucky Sports Radio. Independent candidate Drew Curtis has also been invited to participate in the debate ahead of the Nov. 3 election.


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