The Chatter: Heiner apologizes to Comer over blogger, Comer seems to take a familiar shot at Heiner in new ad

04/30/2015 06:15 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner has issued an apology after reports surfaced that the husband of his running mate had communicated with a blogger who promotes material against James Comer, one of Heiner’s GOP opponents in the May 19 primary.

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman reported the story on Wednesday.

The newspaper obtained emails that showed Scott Crosbie, husband of Heiner’s lieutenant governor pick KC Crosbie, speaking in the fall with Lexington attorney Michael Adams, who operates a website dedicated solely to Comer. KC Crosbie was copied on some emails, according to the Herald-Leader.

Comer, Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner, denied the blog’s most severe charge — that he assaulted a former girlfriend while attending Western Kentucky University. The woman could not be reached by the Herald-Leader.

Comer called the connection between Adams and Scott Crosbie “the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in Kentucky political history,” the Herald-Leader reported.

Heiner, in a statement to the newspaper, called the allegations “undignified and un-Christian and not the type of campaign I am running.”

“I personally apologize to Jamie Comer if anyone associated with my campaign is involved,” he said in the newspaper.

Heiner, a former Louisville Metro Council member, distanced himself from Adams, saying Crosbie did not discuss communicating with Adams nor did he share any information with the campaign, but that didn’t stop Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin from saying the matter should disqualify Heiner from the race.

“Hal’s campaign for Governor is so devoid of principled leadership that they willingly and repeatedly engage in tactics designed to deceive Kentucky voters,” Bevin said in a statement on Wednesday. “Based on those with whom he has surrounded himself, Hal Heiner has shown that he is not fit to serve as Governor of Kentucky.”

New spot, same shot

A day after Heiner apologized to his campaign, Comer appeared to take a familiar shot at the Louisville real estate developer in the opening of a new ad released on Thursday.

“I’m James Comer. I’m not a lawyer, a multimillionaire or a typical politician,” Comer says in the ad, titled “Leadership.”

Heiner’s wealth has been a frequent target of criticism on the campaign trail from Comer, who has often said Kentucky’s next governor would not be a multimillionaire from Louisville. He has also accused Heiner, who has loaned his campaign $4.2 million since entering the race in March 2014, of funding a 501(c )(4) group airing ads against Bevin and him, an allegation Heiner has denied.

Comer’s ad mostly focuses on returning $1.65 million to the state treasury during his first term at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as well as his battle to obtain hemp seed seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The 30-second spot can be viewed here:

Big-spending lobbyists

Groups lobbying the General Assembly spent nearly $7 million in this year’s legislation session, up 11 percent from the last 30-day session in 2013, the Legislative Ethics Commission reported Thursday.

Beermaker Anheuser-Busch led the pack in spending with $381,221, largely in hopes of defeating House Bill 168, which stripped the company of distribution licenses in Louisville and Owensboro. Of that lobbying sum, Anheuser-Busch spent $330,000 on advertising.

The other side of the beer bill battle couldn’t quite match Anheuser-Busch’s spending level. Kentuckians for Entrepreneurs and Growth spent $130,118 in the session, with $101,000 directed to advertising, while Kentucky Beer Wholesalers directed $83,585 to its lobbying efforts, with $50,000 toward advertising.

This year was the first session lobbyists had to report advertising expenses. Other top spenders included the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, $135,928; Altria Client Services, $120,860; Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, $95,857; AT&T, $86,127; and Kentucky Hospital Association, $79,565.


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