Republican group attempts to tie Democrats to Obama in March 8 special elections

02/01/2016 12:40 PM

Kentucky’s four March 8 special elections are being targeted by two outside groups supporting Republicans.

With control of the House of Representatives up for grabs with a 50 – 46 split in favor of Democrats in the chamber, outside GOP groups are tossing some serious cash into the races in an effort to tie-up the majority.

On Monday, the Republican State leadership Committee (RSLC) launched a website attempting to tie the four Democratic special election nominees to President Barack Obama with a slickly produced website. The effort was first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The RSLC says the website is the first of what will be a six-figure, multi-platform ad campaign leading up to the four special elections for the open seats in the state House, according to a news release.

“Democrats don’t seem to have a clue,” said RSLC President Matt Walter in a statement. “They lost important races last November after running out-of-touch candidates determined to implement Obama’s policies in Kentucky.

“They’ve since lost two state House representatives who switched to the Republican Party because of the Democrats’ commitment to the president’s failed agenda,” Walter continued. “And now they are trying the same play again by running four House candidates in the upcoming special elections who will be strong allies to the president and his extreme positions.”

Walters goes on to say that voters know a vote for the Democratic nominees are a vote for Obamacare — the president’s signature healthcare law which seeks to make healthcare more affordable.

Obama is serving his last year in office. A majority of current national political reporting is spent on covering the campaigns of those vying to be his replacement.

Still the RSLC is counting on the unpopular president in Kentucky to carry the GOP.

“It’s important to remind voters of what’s at stake on March 8 and what they can expect from these four candidates,” Walters said. “Our ad campaign is ready to do just that.”

In addition to the RSLC another outside group Kentuckians for Strong Leadership , a super PAC which supported U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election bid, also signaled they would play a role in the special elections and fall House races.

The four special elections being waged include:

8th House District — Republican Walker Wood Thomas will face Democratic candidate Jeff Taylor for the seat. The post is open after former Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, accepted a post as secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. The district features part of Trigg and part of Christian Counties.

54th House District — Two lawyers from Danville, Democratic nominee Bill Noelker faces Republican nominee Daniel Elliott in the March 8 election. The seat opened with former Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, won election as the state auditor. The district includes Boyle and Casey counties.

62nd House District — Democratic nominee Chuck Tackett, who ran for the seat in 2014 faces Republican nominee Phillip Pratt. The seat opened after former Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown, won election to the office of agriculture commissioner. The 62nd House District encompasses part of Fayette County, all of Owen County and part of Scott County.

98th House District — Democratic nominee Lew Nichols of Greenup will face GOP nominee Tony Quillen in the race. The two will compete to replace former Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, who accepted a position as an administrative law judge. The district features part of Boyd County and all of Greenup County.

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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