Candidate Contrasts: A.G. opponents differ on priority of reining in feds, addressing KY issues

10/10/2011 06:19 PM

Listening to the two candidates for Kentucky attorney general, it’s almost as if they are running for two different offices.

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway will rattle off a list of priorities he and his investigators and prosecutors have worked on over the last four years. Among them: trying to combat the stubborn scourge of prescription pill abuse, going after online child predators and initiating prosecutions against people accused of abusing or neglecting elderly Kentuckians in nursing homes.

Republican challenger Todd P’Pool, the Hopkins County attorney, frames most of his speeches around what he calls combating the overreach of the federal government. He said that is the greatest threat to Kentucky that Conway has failed to address.

Conway hasn’t done enough to challenge U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations and guidelines that affect the Kentucky coal industry, P’Pool said in an interview Sunday. When reminded that Conway has joined one lawsuit against the EPA, P’Pool said it’s not enough:

P’Pool said in an interview Sunday in Bowling Green that Conway has been “sitting on the sidelines” when it comes to challenging the federal government. And he said that’s the single biggest reason voters should fire him on Nov. 8.

P’Pool often mentions that his first act as attorney general would be to join a legal challenge with 29 other states’ attorneys general to question the constitutionality of the national health care reform law Congress passed last year.

Specifically, he objects to the provision that requires individuals to have health insurance. And, when pressed, he said that also goes for a state mandate, such as the one Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed off on while serving as governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

Conway, however, said the race will be about Kentucky issues and how he has addressed them over the last four years.

Specifically, Conway touts how he created a cyber crimes unit that has taken 300,000 images of child pornography off of the internet. His office also worked with federal and local law enforcement on several major drug busts across the state. Conway also supported legislation along with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset and others to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug to make it harder to get for makers of methamphetamine.

And Conway said he’s firmly in control of the race.

With public polls showing a wide margin still in the governor’s race, many Republicans are looking at the race for attorney general as the main match-up on Nov. 8.

P’Pool told a group of 75 GOP supporters Sunday at a Bowling Green Republican picnic that his internal polling showed him down “single-digits” to Conway — with the race tightening.

P’Pool has been on TV with modest ad buys since early August. Conway’s campaign launched a more robust ad buy last week.

(_Programming note: Pure Politics will have more on this race later in the week, with other contrasts between the candidates and an in-studio interview with Attorney General Jack Conway on Wednesday. Pure Politics airs 7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central and again at 11:30 p.m./10:30 Central on all of Insight Communications’ markets. _)

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