Republican A.G. group enters election fray with ad highlighting Westerfield and attacking Beshear

07/14/2015 01:09 PM

The Republican Attorney General’s Association is on the air with an advertisement promoting GOP candidate Whitney Westerfield’s prosecutorial experience and attacking Democratic candidate Andy Beshear.

The RAGA’s entry in the race comes as the GOP candidate struggles to keep financial pace with Beshear.

Westerfield has just $8,700 cash-on-hand after the primary as Beshear enters the general election with $1.5 million in his campaign war chest, according to 30-day, post-primary reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

The RAGA did not respond to multiple requests from Pure Politics to comment on the ad and provide further details of their involvement in the race for attorney general.

According to Federal Communications Commission reports, the group has bought $23,285 worth of time with WKYT-TV in Lexington.

In the ad from the outside group, Westerfield, a Hopkinsville attorney and the state Senate Judiciary chairman, is promoted as having spent time as a prosecutor “who put criminals behind bars.” A narrator in the ad also says Westerfield will “stand up to Obama and fight Obamacare.”

Westerfield served about five years as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Christian County.

Among other things, the 30-second spot points to a lack of law enforcement experience for Beshear, an attorney with Louisville-based Stites and Harbison.

Beshear’s law practice includes general litigation, administrative law, antitrust defense, environmental law and professional liability defense, according to his biography on the firm’s website.

“In his business and finance work, Andy represents start-ups, utilities, banks, manufacturers, healthcare providers, transportation companies and international distributors,” his biography reads.

The spot also claims Beshear’s campaign is funded by “special interests he would oversee as Attorney General,” pointing to a December 2014 article by Pure Politics as proof.

The article cited points to a previous 2013 Pure Politics article pointing to “difficult questions” some Democratic officials said Beshear would have to answer about his law practice, including who he represented at the firm. A list of Beshear’s clients has still not been made available to reporters.

Beshear’s communications director Galia Slayen responded to the ad calling it “disappointing that the first thing out of the gate for Whitney Westerfield is a negative ad bought and paid for by his out-of-state, big money backers.”

“While these outsiders want you to believe that Whitney was a full-time prosecutor, in reality he was a part-time prosecutor and full-time debt collector who sued hundreds of vulnerable Kentuckians on behalf of payday lenders and debt collectors,” Slayen said. “Kentuckians need a fighter for them, not a candidate who helps financial predators take advantage of our families.”

Beginning in mid-October, Beshear has bought $1 million worth of ad time in nearly every TV market of the state, according to documents filed with the FCC.


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