Dueling complaints filed as 26th Senate Dist. GOP primary nears

05/15/2018 03:41 PM

In the battle for the Republican primary in northern Jefferson and all of Oldham County the GOP candidates are feuding over campaign logos and a perceived threat against the challenger.

State Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, is seeking a seventh term in the chamber he has served in for 26 years. Harris faces personal injury attorney and small businessman, Alex White of Louisville in the Republican primary and the 26th District race has gotten nasty.

The Senate Republican Caucus Campaign Committee filed a complaint against White with the Registry of Election Finance alleging that he broke state finance laws by using his business logo in campaign materials, according to state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown.

However, according to a Harris it was a private citizen in the district who made the complaint. The Registry of Election Finance did confirm that a complaint had been filed when asked by Pure Politics, but refused to release a copy of the filing.

White told Pure Politics he is aware that the complaint was filed. He said his job as a business owner and attorney are tied to the campaign itself as an explanation of who he is, and what he stands for — just as Harris is running on his time being a Senator.

White said he’s responded to the complaint, and he will let them determine if he violated the law by using his business name in a campaign posting, which is Alex R. White PLLC.

“I’m going to be on the ballot as Alex R. White, that has been my name since 1987, my entire life, my business name is Alex R. White PLLC, this was not a graphic art design put into a photograph it was literally just a picture of Alex R. White PLLC sign in the background of a photograph I used,” he said. “I don’t think it’s in any way unethical.”

Meanwhile, White has filed a complaint against Harris for what he says is a threat to destroy him using the KREF complaint by the sitting Senator following a candidate forum in which Harris aggressively grabbed his hand.

“Mr. Harris came up to me and grabbed me by the hand and would not let go for about 30 to 45 seconds, and he got very close and very sternly and in an incredibly threatening manner told me that this complaint was going to be a ‘huge deal,’ and I told him I’m disappointed you are even aware of it, I wish you were a bigger person than that,” White told Pure Politics. “He responded that of course he was aware of it and it was a very big deal.

“He told me that he was going to hammer me, he told me he was going to nail me and he told me he was going to destroy me with the ethics complaint, and I need to be ready because it’s coming.”

Harris does not deny the interaction with White, in a phone interview on Tuesday he said that he shook the candidate’s hand and told White he was aware of the complaint, and that it would be used in the campaign.

“There were no physical threats to him, if he is alluding to that, it was just if this is true then I will consider using that in my campaign,” Harris said.

The Senate Transportation Chair has not yet responded to the ethics complaint against him, but said he will tell the commission he feels the complaint is “baseless,” adding he will ask for it to be dismissed.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Karen Burg and Matt Kaufmann.

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