GOP launches religious attack against Rep. Martha Jane King
11/02/2016 03:26 PM
With a mail piece proclaiming that Democratic Rep. Martha Jane King has “sold out our Christian values,” the Republican Party of Kentucky is hoping to swing the vote in the southern Kentucky district.
The direct mailer, which can be viewed below, depicts King with a rainbow behind her and text that reads she has “advanced a radical, liberal agenda in Frankfort” while espousing traditional values in her district which encompasses Logan, Todd and part of Warren County.
Citing a questionnaire for Project Vote Smart as the basis for their religious claims, the Republican Party and outside groups say King’s position on same-sex marriage and rights for transgender people backup their attack.
“These aren’t political charges — these are her positions that she made public! The facts are clear,” the mailer says.
Kentucky Democratic Party spokesman Daniel Lowry called the mailer “shameful.”
“It’s shameful to attack someone’s faith. Rep. King has never sold out anyone’s values,“Lowry said. “Each of us should give account of ourselves when it comes to our own faith, for we don’t know the true heart of another. One thing is for sure, Rep. King fights for her district — for health care, education and job growth.”
Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Tres Watson defended the ad, saying, “King tells people back home she shares our traditional values, in Frankfort, she tells liberal groups she’s for Obama’s transgender bathroom rules and votes to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.”
King faces opposition for a second cycle in a row from Jason Petrie. When the two candidates clashed in 2014, Petrie, then registered as independent, lost by more than 2,000 votes in the southern Kentucky district.
This cycle, Petrie is registered as a Republican, and not only is he benefiting from the RPK’s involvement, but also from outside groups, including GOP super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership — a group that made its name supporting U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his 2014 re-election campaign.
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership is running multiple ads in the district over the airwaves. One ad titled “Martha Jane King: Outrageous” ties the Democratic lawmaker to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton would allow unchecked illegal immigration and open borders, and Martha Jane King — she’d give illegal immigrants driver’s license,” a narrator in the ad says.
“We just aren’t safe with Hillary and Martha Jane King,” the ad continues, before promoting Petrie.
The attacks over the driver’s license issue is nothing new for the GOP. Two years ago, groups peppered numerous Democratic candidates over the issue — including Democrat-turned-Republican Jim Gooch, casting him as soft on terror.
The back up for the claim lies in House Bill 396, brought in 2013, which would have allowed the Transportation Cabinet to issue a certificate to drive to individuals over 18 who has lived in Kentucky for a minimum of three years and who cannot prove citizenship. The legislation passed out of committee, but no action was taken on the House floor.
King has responded to the attacks with an ad of her own, buying $5,000 worth of ad time on WBKO in the final week of the campaign, according to FCC records.
King’s ad highlights her familial roots to the district and her “traditional values,” as a photograph of the Lewisburg Democrat standing next to a copy of the Ten Commandments flashes across the screen.
“As state Representative, Martha Jane King has brought home a record amount of state funding for our district, and now out-of-town special interest groups are attacking her with false ads, trying to mislead and buy our seat,” a narrator in the commercial says.
Below the Fold
Ads run in support of McConnell's confirmation of Gorsuch; Senator calls decision "most consequential" item of career
Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.