No matter which GOP candidate becomes nominee, Democratic group says negative race has weakened candidates

05/18/2015 12:39 PM

An out-of-state Democratic group says the negative twists and turns in the GOP primary for governor have woefully hurt whomever emerges as the Republican nominee.

In a web ad released Monday, the Democratic Governors Association sought to highlight the negative turns of the GOP primary in Kentucky.

The DGA ad, titled “The Ugly Turn,” relies heavily on Kentucky political news stories to make the point of the nasty race being waged and the negative effect it could have on Republicans come the fall general election.

“This scorched-earth primary has exposed the Kentucky GOP field for who they really are: far-right candidates who will say and do anything to help themselves,” said DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson in a press release. “Whoever wins Tuesday will emerge as a weakened candidate for a bitterly divided Republican Party. Kentuckians want a governor who will put Kentucky first and fight for job creation. All three of the GOP candidates have failed that test.”

Steve Robertson, chair of the Kentucky Republican Party, said the claims are unfounded and the nature of a multi-candidate primary speaks to the move to the right among Kentucky voters.

“Our party is growing,” Robertson said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “I, personally, am very happy to see that the nomination is important enough that several people want to run for these offices.”

A divisive primary in Kentucky is not unheard of for Republicans or Democrats for that matter. “The Republican Party in Kentucky is increasingly having a higher level of competition for offices..,” Robertson said.

Most recently, Republicans battled in 2014 in the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin. Before that, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson locked horns in 2010.

Robertson said the DGA should be concerned come the fall because “they have a presumptive nominee that’s wasting money, not getting attention out there.“

Meanwhile, Robertson said Republicans are making their cases and getting the attention of the media.

Many from Kentucky’s Republican federal delegation have called on candidates in the gubernatorial primary to come together in a show of unity at the May 30 GOP state Lincoln Day Dinner in Lexington.


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