Williams brings back Aqua Buddha in response to Democrats' criticism on election eve

05/16/2011 11:11 AM

LOUISVILLE — After a six month rest, Aqua Buddha returned to Kentucky politics on Monday, with Republican Senate President David Williams dropping his name as a slam at the Kentucky Democratic Party.

The term “Aqua Buddha” refers to an incident that received heavy attention during last year’s Kentucky U.S. Senate race between now U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway.

Late in the campaign, Conway ran an ad highlighting Paul’s role in a hazing incident from his college days in the 1980s in which he and a friend brought a fellow swim team member to “worship a god called Aqua Buddha,” according to a GQ magazine article. While the saga itself was a curious side-show, Conway’s ad drew national criticism. And Paul went on to win the general election by double digits.

On Monday morning, Williams woke the political deity from his slumber. Williams, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, tried to describe the state Democratic Party the “party of Aqua Buddha” even though the ad was produced by Conway’s campaign.

Then, Williams went so far as to say Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon “looks more like Aqua Buddha,” than anyone Williams knows.

The comments came after state Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, a Democrat from Louisville, continued a round of news conference the Democratic Party has put on asking Williams to release his recent personal tax returns while running for governor.

Williams has resisted. He said his legislative and executive ethics reports are enough. But the Democrats have refused to let up, often holding news conferences immediately before Williams’ campaign events to rattle the GOP frontrunner.

That was the point Williams made on Monday — that the Democratic Party’s moves were a clear sign that Williams was the strongest Republican candidate in a three-slate Republican primary for governor.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston

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