Pro-Comer PAC set to hit TV airwaves in three-week buy starting next week

04/02/2015 11:28 AM

UPDATED WITH REACTION: The pro-James Comer group Kentuckians for Growth, Opportunity and Prosperity is poised to become the first outside spender to air television advertisements in this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, the political action committee’s executive director said Thursday.

Kathryn Breiwa, executive director of KGOP, said the group plans to spend between $450,000 and $475,000 on the ad buy, which will air in the Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green markets. The ads are set to begin airing Monday and last through the week of April 20.

She declined to describe the nature of the spot, a copy of which was not available.

The television ad — coupled with a radio buy totaling nearly $75,000, according to Breiwa — is part of the political action committee’s efforts to ensure Comer’s election in May. She declined to specify how much the PAC plans to spend in the primary, saying KGOP will “do what it takes” to send Comer to the governor’s mansion.

“Once we decided which candidate would make the best governor, we wanted to immediately connect with voters,” Breiwa said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “It’s important that they know James Comer’s qualifications, experience and leadership ability before they vote in the primary on May 19.”

KGOP, a PAC that supports “limited government and our unabridged right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” has purchased three weeks of airtime on Lexington’s ABC affiliate, WTVQ-TV, beginning Monday, according to the station’s FCC documents.

The 30-second spot is slated to air a total of 54 times during broadcasts of local newscasts, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Dancing with the Stars, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and 20/20 through the week of April 20, records submitted to the station Wednesday show. KGOP spent more than $12,000 in airtime at the station, the filings show.

KGOP has also bought time on Louisville’s ABC affiliate, WHAS-TV, although a similar breakdown of airtimes was unavailable, according to FCC filings.

KGOP isn’t the only PAC slated to enter the primary race. The Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth reported Saturday that the Bluegrass Action Fund, a PAC backing Republican gubernatorial hopeful Hal Heiner, is expected to jump in the campaign soon.

Other Republican gubernatorial candidates downplayed the emergence of KGOP in the primary.

Ben Hartman, spokesman for Louisville businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin, said in a phone interview that voters will realize Bevin is the “superior candidate” in the Republican primary once they hear his message “regardless of any outside expenditures on behalf of anybody else.” He noted the campaign released its first television spot Thursday Thursday.

Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott said well-funded groups and PACs will likely shy away from his campaign throughout the primary, saying he’s running for working-class Republicans. His ticket, he said, is the only “free ticket” on the ballot this year.

Such big-monied organizations tend to “corral” candidates, he said.

“That candidate’s confined to that corral, and the sheriff (former Menifee County Sheriff Rodney Coffey, Scott’s running mate) and I, we don’t take corrals, we’re not confined, we will never be confined, so they don’t even try to do that with us,” Scott told Pure Politics.

The campaign for Heiner, a Louisville real estate developer and former metro councilman, declined to comment on KGOP’s ad buy.

“We’re focused on our campaign, getting our message out about Hal’s experience and job creation, bringing new ideas to Frankfort,” Heiner spokesman Doug Alexander told Pure Politics.


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