Outside groups launch first attacks in general election race for governor

06/03/2015 10:33 AM

A national Republican group and a Kentucky Democratic super PAC are busy attacking candidates down partisan lines five months out from Election Day.

The Republican Governor’s Association announced the launch of a digital campaign Wednesday. The campaign seeks to tie Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Jack Conway to incumbent President Barack Obama.

“Jack Conway’s vision for Kentucky is President Obama’s vision – fewer jobs, higher taxes and more regulations,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson in a press release.

RGA launched the website “Obama First KY Last” as the hub for their attacks against Conway, and the group says the site will grow over the coming months to include more research as to why Conway “can’t be trusted to be an effective leader for Kentucky.”

Among the first attacks listed on the site, and in a statement, include what the group says is Conway’s support of cap-and trade.

Cap-and-trade is essentially putting a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and letting producers trade credits to meet standards, a global warming reduction measure pushed by Obama in his first term.

The argument stems back to Conway’s 2010 run for U.S. Senate against Rand Paul, when the GOP assaulted Conway for flip-flopping on the issue.

Several stories from 2009, including one from the Paducah Sun, said Conway did favor the reduction measure, though his campaign contended the story was wrong in 2010 when asked by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

During the 2010 campaign for Senate Conway, like the other candidates, opposed the cap-and-trade bill before Congress.

The issue on cap-and-trade and Conway’s support of the state-based health exchange under the Affordable Care Act are two reasons the Republican group is promoting Bevin.

“Fortunately for the Bluegrass state, the November election represents an opportunity to get Kentucky back on the right track by electing Matt Bevin, a proven leader and jobs creator,” Thompson said.

Meanwhile, Democratic super PAC Kentucky Family Values started attacking Bevin Tuesday in a Web ad using U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s words.

A nearly three-minute video uses clips from Bevin’s “Happy Together” video poking fun at the tension between McConnell and Bevin — the original video first appeared at the Republican Party’s state Lincoln Day Dinner in Lexington on Saturday.

The re-worked video shows McConnell ads, and statements attempting to discredit Bevin in the primary election.

“Matt Bevin attempted to deceive Kentucky voters in 2014 by lying about his business record during the Republican primary, causing Senator McConnell’s campaign to label Bevin an ‘East Coast Con Man’ for his inability to speak truthfully to Kentuckians,” said the PAC in a news release.

“In response to Bevin’s long-term pattern of deception, Kentucky Family Values is releasing its first 2015 video, ‘Sweep,’ as a reminder that Matt Bevin is trying yet again to sweep his questionable past under the rug. As we say in the video, ‘Matt Bevin may have won his primary because there was a food fight between his competitors, but that doesn’t mean he has a clean plate now.’”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, 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 the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.



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