Pro-Edelen super PAC releases Web ad with audio of praise from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow

08/31/2015 08:01 AM

UPDATED A super PAC supporting Auditor Adam Edelen’s re-election bid has released a Web ad using audio of an MSNBC segment lauding the incumbent Democrat’s speech at Fancy Farm this year.

The two-minute video, titled “Big, Important Things,” features MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, on her Aug. 21 program, calling Edelen “the best southern Democratic politician I have seen speak at an event like this (Fancy Farm) since (former Texas Gov.) Ann Richards, since Bill Clinton in his prime.” The ad also includes portions of Edelen’s speech and footage of him at Fancy Farm events.

Kentuckians for Honesty in Government released the video on the PAC’s website Friday, marking its entry in Edelen’s re-election campaign against Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.

The ad can be viewed here:

Matt Erwin, a representative of the PAC listed as the group’s chairman on Kentucky Registry of Election Finance filings, said in an email to Pure Politics late Sunday that Kentuckians for Honesty in Government plans to remain a presence in the auditor’s race.

“Auditor Adam Edelen has been a fantastic public servant and watchdog for Kentucky taxpayers and it’s great to see people in and outside of Kentucky take notice,” Erwin said in the email. “From now till Election Day we hope to reach as many folks as possible to let them know about the work Auditor Edelen has done in Frankfort.”

Harmon said he expected a PAC to get involved in the race given the present political climate nationally. Edelen and supportive groups shouldn’t “take their eye off the ball” in 2015.

“Obviously Adam is articulate,” Harmon said in a phone interview with Pure Politics on Monday. “I think what he says gives indication that he is as much a national Democrat as he is a southern Democrat. I mean, he’s gone down to South Carolina and praised Obama. He refused to fill out his Kentucky Right to Life questionnaire.

“It’s interesting that he would ask us to read the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and much of what he has done is not consistent with those books from what I have seen.”

It’s unclear whether the PAC will get involved in other races this election cycle. Erwin said the group “is aimed at supporting candidates who have shown they are willing to stand up for Kentucky taxpayers and working families,” and Edelen “is certainly one of those candidates and we’re happy to help educate Kentuckians on his good work.”

The PAC’s video also included Maddow’s mention of Edelen’s potential campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is also seeking the GOP presidential nomination, in 2016.

Erwin said the group is focused on 2015 when asked whether the group hoped to boost Edelen’s profile ahead of a potential U.S. Senate campaign.

“Our goal is to ensure that, in November, Kentucky voters are as educated on candidates who have shown a willingness to go to bat for Kentucky taxpayers and working families,” he said.

Harmon released his own online video on Facebook last week, making social issues central to the minute-long Web ad.

Among the issues raised in the video by Harmon include a call to audit federal dollars that flow through the state for Planned Parenthood.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has said Planned Parenthood received federal Title X money totaling about $331,300 from local health departments for health services. The group cannot perform abortions with public dollars under federal law.

In Harmon’s ad, a narrator says Edelen “refuses to act (on auditing Planned Parenthood) because he doesn’t share our values.”

Harmon said he and others have called on the auditor to review Planned Parenthood funding through the state, citing a letter from most of the House GOP caucus.

That letter, however, urged Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway to block the $331,300 in Title X funding for Planned Parenthood services in Kentucky. The auditor’s office is not mentioned in the Aug. 3 news release.

“Whether you agree or disagree with the Medicaid expansion, there are many other avenues to be able to obtain those same services, and we all know that those monies that go to Planned Parenthood are co-mingled and go to other places where abortions are performed and, unfortunately, many of the atrocities that have been listed in these videos,” Harmon said.

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 or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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