RAGA returns to air in support of Whitney Westerfield with spot on religious liberty

10/22/2015 09:16 PM

The Republican Attorneys General Association has returned to the airwaves in support of GOP candidate Whitney Westerfield.

The group’s return to television sets across the commonwealth about a week after going dark on the airwaves has a new focus from previous ads, which relied heavily on casting Democratic candidate Andy Beshear as an acolyte of President Obama.

Now the attention shifts to religious liberty — an issue Westerfield has talked about heavily on the campaign trail.

“The Constitution. Religious liberty. They’re under attack,” a narrator in the ad says. “Liberal extremists are trying to criminalize our faith.”

The words play out under images of the U.S. Supreme Court in an apparent reference to a landmark ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, striking down bans in more than a dozen states, including Kentucky.

Since that time Westerfield has advocated on behalf of county clerks like Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to offer a way out of issuing marriage licenses bearing the names of clerks who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds.

While the Supreme Court set the precedent to allow marriage between same-sex couples across the nation, Westerfield maintains that a religious freedom law passed in the state legislature invokes a two-part test when “interfering with religious liberty” — a compelling interest, met with the least restrictive means. Westerfield has called for a special session to remedy the issue.

Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, has said he respects the “strong convictions” on both sides of the issue, but he is calling on the General Assembly to take up the matter in January under a regular session.

Galia Slayen, the communications director for Andy Beshear’s campaign, dismissed the attack against her candidate as a distraction from allies of Westerfield.

“Whitney Westerfield’s out-of-state friends are once again pouring in millions of dollars on misleading attack ads to try and buy this election from Washington, DC,” Slayen said. “It’s clear that these outside groups are simply trying to distract from Westerfield’s ineffective record of suing hundreds of vulnerable Kentuckians on behalf of debt collectors and payday lenders.”

Westerfield campaign manager Andy Hightower said Westerfield is clear about where he stands on issues “like protecting the religious freedom of Kentuckians.”

“Unlike the Beshears, he has a record of accomplishment and doesn’t have to hide behind false personal attacks,” Hightower said. “Experience matters, and Sen. Westerfield has a record of success as a prosecutor and as a legislator that makes him the most qualified Attorney General candidate.”

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@twcnews.com.

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