Heiner encouraged by early lead in Bluegrass Poll, says he hopes GOP primary stays on issues not character assassinations

03/13/2015 12:39 PM

With an 8-point lead in the latest polling, GOP gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner is calling the poll “encouraging” given his 53 weeks on the campaign trail so far.

In an interview Wednesday, Heiner, who has not shied from spending big on campaign advertisements, said he has been on the trail introducing himself and his ideas over the last year.

“Just introducing myself as maybe an unlikely candidate, you know, an engineer and business person, somebody outside Frankfort running for the governor’s office,” Heiner said. “After 53 weeks on the anniversary date it was encouraging to see that result, that people are joining with us. We are feeling that momentum.”

Heiner faces state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, former U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin and former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott in the May 19 primary.

With just 66 days to primary Tuesday, Heiner said the difficult job falls to GOP electorate to decide who is best to lead the party.

“I think it’ll largely come down to backgrounds, life experiences, policy and also who has the courage and experience and background to get Kentucky where we can go,” Heiner said.

Heiner has been running television ads nonstop since the beginning of the year, and with $4.2 million in loans he made early in the campaign, he can afford to stay on TV through the primary.

“It’s really important to be able to introduce myself to Kentuckians,” Heiner said, noting others in the race have run statewide and invested heavily in past campaigns. “… But Kentucky is a state of very strong families and interconnected families, and I think more than anything it’s word of mouth that will make the difference in the end.”

Heiner, who was narrowly defeated in Louisville’s 2010 mayoral race, said he hopes the GOP primary will stay focused on the policy issues so the Republican nominee can enter the general election with a “mandate on direction.”

“My goal is this race stay focused on policy,” Heiner said. “ I get disappointed when I see elections that end up focused, end up in the gutter focused in character assassination, and I will do everything I can possibly do to keep this as a policy-focused race, and I think certainly the Republican primary will stay that way.”

Listen to Heiner discuss the issues in the race and the work of the Kentucky General Assembly starting at 7:28 in the interview above.


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