Democratic super PAC makes $630K ad buy in support of Andy Beshear
10/07/2015 05:42 PM
There’s an ad war brewing turning Kentucky’s down-ballot contest for attorney general into an expensive proposition for the candidates and their independent expenditure groups.
Bluegrass Alliance for Consumer Rights, a super PAC supporting Democratic candidate Andy Beshear, made their entrance into the campaign with an advertising buy totaling $630,000.
The first ad from the PAC, which is airing in Lexington and Louisville television markets, focuses on issues Republican candidate Whitney Westerfield faced during his five years as a part-time assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Christian County.
According to Westerfield’s personnel file, which Pure Politics reported on in July, the now 34-year-old Westerfield had problems with punctuality and a dispute with another colleague.
An August 2007 entry in Westerfield’s personnel file cites complaints with courtesy, professionalism and attitude. The file says that, “Personal interests often take priority over work duties,” including “Teeth Cleaning vs. Jury Trial,” “Pedicure vs. Arraignments,” and “Cell Phone in Court.”
Those instances and others are detailed in the super PACs latest television ad.
In an interview with Pure Politics in July, Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor, a Democrat, said that the meetings with Westerfield and others were offered early in their time together as “constructive criticism” and said that she could not remember a time when Westerfield missed a court appearance.
Westerfield campaign manager Andy Hightower said the ad from the super PAC is a pathetic distraction and shows that Beshear’s campaign is feeling the polls tightening.
“Andy Beshear and his allies are clearly afraid they are going to lose, and I don’t think they’re going to change any minds with false claims about Whitney’s prosecutorial experience or playground ridicule of his appearance,” Hightower said in a statement. “The facts can’t be hidden by the Beshear dynasty’s childish ridicule — Senator Whitney Westerfield put hundreds of criminals behind bars and was instrumental in the passage of legislation to fight the heroin epidemic in Kentucky. Andy Beshear has never been a prosecutor and didn’t even recognize his own policy had already been enacted through Sen. Westerfield’s efforts.”
Meanwhile, the Republican Attorneys General Association reported that they have already spent $2.2 million, mainly in advertising in support of Westerfield, according the Courier-Journal’s Tom Loftus.
RAGA Executive Director Scott Will did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the group’s support in the coming weeks.
Beshear spokeswoman Galia Slayen said there’s a difference between the ads that are being run by RAGA and those being run by the Democratic super PAC supporting their race.
“Whitney Westerfield’s out-of-state friends have already spent over $2 million attacking Andy Beshear and are on track to spend millions more,” Slayen said. “But the difference with this ad, which is being run by an outside group and not our campaign, is that it’s based on Whitney’s official job evaluation and court records, and unlike the baseless attacks against Andy, it happens to be true.”
During the primary Beshear raised nearly $2 million, according to records filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Beshear has been running multiple ads in recent weeks.
Westerfield raised $88,000 in the primary, and his campaign currently has television spots booked in the last two weeks of the election cycle.
Neither campaigns’ general election finance reports are currently available online. The filing deadline for those reports is midnight Wednesday.
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