Democratic group launches first attack ad at David Williams in governor's race

08/10/2011 07:41 AM

After weeks of positive TV ads in the governor’s race, a new independent expenditure group on Wednesday began airing the first negative ad of the 2011 race.

The ad attacks Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams for spending money for renovations to his Senate office, including the purchase of a new flat-screen TV. It also hits him on some of his policies he has supported as state Senate president.

This is the first ad from a group called Kentucky Family Values. And that organization has made a large ad purchase. It bought more than $110,000 in ads to run on cable networks in the Louisville and Lexington markets, starting today and running through August 21, according to public ad files with Insight Communications, the parent company of cn|2.

The commercial also attacks Williams’ proposal to cut the budget across the board this spring to help balance the state budget amid a Medicaid shortfall. The commercial says doing so would have hurt education and led to teacher layoffs.

And the ad has a subtle reference to gambling, opening with Williams’ face and poker chips in the background. Williams has opposed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposals for expanded gambling in Kentucky. But Democrats have criticized Williams for gambling at casinos, which came out in his 2003 divorce filings.

Kentucky Family Values is an independent expenditure group created under the section 527 of the IRS code. And because it’s getting involved in a statewide race, it must file paperwork with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

In the group’s only filing from June, Kentucky Family Values only listed one unitemized $100 contribution on its contribution list.

The group’s chairman is Russell Lloyd, who also is chair of the 48th state legislative district for the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party. Lloyd did not return multiple calls for comment from Pure Politics.

But on Lloyd’s Facebook page, he lists one of his “activities” as Craig Varoga, the Democratic consultant who ran an independent expenditure in favor of Beshear in 2007 called the Bluegrass Freedom Fund.

The ad was produced by The New Media Firm, which helps produce ads for many Democratic candidates and groups.

Beshear and Williams are joined by independent Gatewood Galbraith on the fall ballot.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston

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