Heiner's super PAC spends nearly all its money in seven House races

10/28/2014 06:46 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner’s super PAC, New Direction Kentucky, is targeting four Democratic incumbents and three open seats in this fall’s election cycle, dropping more than $232,000 on radio advertising and mailers this month.

The $232,771 spent by New Direction Kentucky represents nearly all of the $234,139 dispersed by the super PAC in the 15 days before the election, leaving the group with $12,160 on hand, according to KREF records.

In a statement, Heiner said he expects Republicans to assume control of the state House on Election Day.

“I formed New Direction Kentucky because the policies coming out of Frankfort are failing Kentucky families,” he said. “After 93 years of single party control, Kentuckians are ready for a new approach to the old problems in Frankfort. That starts next Tuesday when I am confident Kentuckians will demonstrate their frustration with Democratic legislators at the ballot box.”

Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, bore the brunt of New Direction Kentucky’s mail blitz, as the group spent $22,515 for a series of three mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17, according to independent expenditure reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Here’s a list of Democratic incumbents and candidates in open seats targeted by New Direction Kentucky:

>Rep. Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah: $19,635 spent on mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17

>Rep. Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro: $18,651 on mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17

>Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mt. Sterling: $18,327 on mailers on Oct. 17

>Kent Stevens, running in the open 53rd House District: $20,211 on mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17

>Russ Meyer, running in the open 39th House District: $19,673 on mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17

>Dean Schamore, running in the open 10th House District: $20,787 on mailers on Oct. 6 and Oct. 17

While New Direction Kentucky launches mailers against those Democrats, the group is propping up candidates in those districts through a combination of mailers and radio advertisements. Coursey’s Republican opponent, Keith Travis, is the beneficiary of $13,568 in three radio ads airing on WKYQ, WKYX and WLLE on Oct. 4, plus a $7,505 mailer on Oct. 6, KREF records show.

New Direction Kentucky released a joint radio ad featuring Travis and Randy Bridges, who is challenging Watkins in 3rd House District. The minute-long spot notes everything that happened in 1921: the recovery from World War I, Babe Ruth played in the World Series and the GOP last controlled the state House.

“They’ve been in control ever since,” a narrator says. “After 93 years, it’s time for a change.”

The ad says the Kentucky Democratic Party stands for Obamacare, the proverbial “war on coal” and big government.

“In fact, during the last legislative session House Democrats even voted for a huge increase in the gas tax,” the narrator says. “We can do better. By electing Randy Bridges and Keith Travis to the state House, western Kentucky will finally get representatives who will focus on job creation, tax reduction and developing real economic opportunity.”

KDP Chairman Dan Logsdon said he doesn’t believe New Direction Kentucky’s messaging will gain traction with voters in the campaigns’ closing days.

“All they have is throwing the president at our candidates and talking about divisive issues,” he said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “The only platform they’ve got, they stole it from a guy who’s been indicted on 23 counts.”

Logsdon is referring to the “Handshake with Kentucky” unveiled by House GOP candidates in September, which The Courier-Journal reported is modeled after a similar legislative agenda touted by Alabama Republicans in 2010. The KDP head also took a shot at Republican Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month.

“There’s so many groups playing now, I think people are kind of getting numb to all of the political advertising, but look, we’ve got a great ground game,” Logsdon said. “We think our candidates have run terrific races. The party and the caucus have influenced this as much as we can, and we feel like we’re in a good spot.”

Other GOP candidates getting a boost from Heiner’s group include:

>Bridges: $13,568 in radio ads on WKYQ, WKYX and WLLE on Oct. 4 and $6,545 on mailers Oct. 6

>Alan Braden, who is challenging Glenn in the 13th House District: $11,103 in radio ads airing on WBKR and WOMI on Oct. 4 and $6,217 on mailers Oct. 6

>Alan Claypool, who is running against Schamore in the open 10th House District: $8,043 on radio ads airing on WBKR Oct. 4 and $6,929 on mailers Oct. 6

>James Tipton, who is running against Stevens in the open 53rd House District: $6,737 on mailers Oct. 6

>Jonah Mitchell, who is running against Meyer in the open 39th House District: $6,645 on mailers Oct. 6

>David Hale, who is challenging Henderson in the 74th House District: $6,109 on mailers Oct. 17

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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