In 23rd House Dist. GOP challenger casting Rep. Bell as 'liberal' and 'extreme' in new ad

10/09/2014 02:04 PM

Two pieces of legislation dealing with immigration issues, one from 2013 and another from 2009, are at the heart of a new attack ad hitting seven-year incumbent Rep. Johnny Bell of Glasgow in the Southern Kentucky state House race.

Bell, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2007, is under fire in a new ad released last week by the campaign for Republican Jeff Jobe on cable and television affiliates WBKO and WNKY, out of Bowling Green. The campaign says the buy is “significant.”

The ad states that “liberal Johnny Bell is more extreme than you think.” In the 30-second advertisement from the campaign for Jobe, an announcer points to a 2013 bill sponsored by Bell to issue certificates for driving to “illegal immigrants.”

The legislation in question 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.

Jobe’s campaign is also targeting Bell for a vote against a 2009 bill which would have made it mandatory for public agencies to require use of federal employment verification programs and prohibit hiring unauthorized aliens for contractors and subcontractors, according to Legislative Research Commission records.

The point Jobe’s campaign is trying to make is that Bell acts like a conservative at home, but votes as a liberal in Frankfort.

“Part of Jeff’s message is that Johnny Bell says one thing in district and says something else in the House,” said Brad Shattuck, a consultant for Jobe’s campaign.

Shattuck says the ad has had a “positive” response from citizens in the district.

Representative Bell did not respond to several requests for comment.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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