Bevin, Comer launch new issue-based ads two weeks before the GOP primary

05/06/2015 02:23 PM

With less than two weeks before the May 19 primary and Kentuckians presumably paying attention, even though candidates expect a dismal turnout, two of the GOP candidates for governor are sharpening their messaging in new television and Internet ads.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is one of four men vying for the Republican nomination for governor, launched his latest ad Wednesday focusing on coal and mentioning Barack Obama alongside Louisville businessman Hal Heiner.

A coal miner in the ad, who was identified later to Pure Politics by the campaign as Steve Henry of Webster County, rails against President Barack Obama’s “war on Kentucky” and ties Heiner into the mix, saying, I don’t think Hal Heiner understands what it means to be a coal miner and to work hard for a living.”

“I don’t think Hal Heiner will stand up to Barack Obama. I think that will just push Kentucky coal jobs closer to the edge of that cliff,” Henry says in the 30-second spot, which can be viewed here:

In response to the ad, Heiner campaign manager Kyle Robertson attempted to use Comer’s own words against him in a statement sent to Pure Politics.

“Jamie Comer said the future of coal does not look good in Eastern Kentucky and we should embrace that,” Robertson said. “Hal Heiner believes Jamie Comer is wrong and will never embrace the idea that we should give up on coal in Kentucky.”

The statement Robertson mentions comes from an interview between Pure Politics and Comer before he entered the primary. At the time, Comer said the state is “going to have to embrace” that the future of coal “does not look good in eastern Kentucky.”

During the interview, Comer said he is “a friend of coal. … I’m going to do everything I can to support coal in the future.”

Robertson went on to say that Heiner has worked in mine reclamation and that he understands the importance of the resource.

“Hal has worked in mine reclamation in Letcher County and knows how important coal is to Kentucky. Hal Heiner will fight President Obama’s war on coal, not give up on it like Jamie Comer.”

Comer’s campaign says the spot is part of a $450,000 buy through the end of the election. The spots, Comer’s campaign manager Edwin King said, would vary in the coming weeks, but the coal ad would air on cable out of Huntington and Charleston, W.Va., and on broadcast out of Hazard. The spot will also air on cable and broadcast out of Evansville, Ind.

Comer’s campaign did not immediately respond to a question about the location of the mine in the ad.

Meanwhile, Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin, who has been able to play Heiner and Comer against one another recently, is focusing on education in his latest Web-only ad.

The 70-second spot titled “Out the Door with Common Core,” plays like a public service announcement against the math and language standards.

Common Core is a set of uniform standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade “created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live,” according to the initiative.

In the ad, Bevin says that supporters should forward the video to their friends where “together we can fight to repeal Common Core from the state of Kentucky.”

In his “Blueprint for a Better Kentucky”, Bevin writes that the “one-size-fits-all model of education that has been handed down to us from the Department of Education doesn’t adequately address the diverse needs of our particular state.”

“Kentucky must withdraw from the national Common Core Standards, as increasing numbers of other states are doing or have now done. Local school boards, principals, and teachers need the power to set standards and implement curricula that will best serve the needs of their students,” Bevin’s plan says.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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