Comer, Bevin, KDP release television and Web ads four weeks ahead of GOP primary

04/21/2015 01:51 PM

Republicans candidates and the Kentucky Democratic Party released a light barrage of television and Web videos on Tuesday, stoking the flames of a GOP gubernatorial primary four weeks away.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer unveiled his latest 30-second spot on Tuesday, playing up his conservative social credentials on abortion, gay marriage and gun rights.

“I believe in the sanctity of life,” Comer says in the 30-second ad. “I know marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, and I will defend our Second Amendment rights.

“… As your governor, I will fight to defend our Kentucky values — always.”

The spot, titled “Who We Are” and airing in the Lexington, Bowling Green and Paducah broadcast markets and statewide on cable except for the northern Kentucky market, can be viewed here:

The ad focuses on social issues, a source of consternation for Comer as the only successful Republican to run for office following the GOP’s statewide drubbing in 2011.

“I think Republicans have burned the voters out on social issues and on nationalizing issues,” Comer said at a Republican Party of Kentucky rally in the wake of 2011 elections in which he was the only GOP candidate to win office, according to a 2011 report by the Louisville Courier-Journal. “In a bad economy, people want to know, ‘What can you do to help me?’”

In a November 2013 Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce meeting, he also eschewed old-guard Republicans “who campaign on social issues exclusively who are very cautious and oppose agendas to move Kentucky forward,” according to a report by The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Edwin King, Comer’s campaign manager, said sharing Comer’s views on social issues with voters is “very important” in the campaign. Comer’s message extends beyond social conservativism, he said.

“Commissioner Comer is a social conservative and believes strongly in Second Amendment rights and traditional marriage and is pro-life, but he’s said in the past he’s not going to run a campaign solely on the social-conservative message,” King told Pure Politics. “However, that doesn’t mean that he’s not a social conservative, and certainly we want to let the voters know in a Republican primary where he stands on those issues.”

Comer wasn’t the only candidate who put out a video on Tuesday. Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin released an online-only ad with Heidi Huber, founder of Ohioans Against Common Core, who praised Bevin for his efforts against the federal educational guidelines.

Bevin and other GOP gubernatorial candidates have persistently criticized Common Core on the campaign trail, and Huber says in the ad Bevin “gets it because he’s a dad” and “gets it because he’s an outsider.”

“That’s the strength of Matt as a candidate – he doesn’t have any political favors to pay,” she says in the 30-second spot, which is called “Game Changer” and can be viewed here:

The Kentucky Democratic Party also spending on a minute-long online ad called “Slugfest,” which KDP said in a news release “uses news footage and the Republican candidates’ own statements to highlight how the GOP primary has turned into a brutal, intra-party fight that is exposing the flaws in each candidate and will leave their ultimate nominee deeply wounded.”

The spot focuses primarily on negative ads aired against Comer and Bevin by Citizens for a Sound Government, a 501(c )(4) group backing Louisville real estate developer Hal Heiner in his primary bid, and the backlash those spots created. Bevin’s campaign challenged the ad, which was only pulled by Lexington’s NBC affiliate late Friday as CSG’s paid airtime neared expiration.

KDP’s Web-only ad can be viewed here:

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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