Williams' criticism of Hindu ceremony is 'not the way to win an election,' Moffett says

11/04/2011 04:52 PM

Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams created a needless distraction with his criticism of Gov. Steve Beshear’s participating in a Hindu ceremony to bless the ground of a new manufacturing facility, said former GOP gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett.

Moffett, who ran against Williams in the spring primary, said with Kentucky ranking near the bottom in many categories, getting into a controversy over a religious ceremony at an economic development event wasn’t the right approach for the last week of the general election.

“I don’t know what he was thinking, but it’s not the way to win the election,” Moffett said (5:52 mark)

Beshear participated in the ceremony for the ground breaking of an India-based Flex Films packaging facility that will employ 250 people in Elizabethtown. In Shelbyville on Tuesday, Williams criticized Beshear for not being in line with Kentucky values — remarks first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Jack Brammer.

Instead, Moffett suggested that Williams should have continued to hammer on Kentucky’s poor rankings.

Analysts have pointed to Moffett’s strong finish in the primary, losing to the well-known Williams by only 10 points while winning the more urban areas of the state, as the beginning of the end of Williams’ gubernatorial hopes.

Moffett disagreed. He told Pure Politics wasn’t sure his stronger-than-expected showing in the Republican primary signaled the end for Williams’ gubernatorial run, pointing out Williams’ high negatives from both sides of the aisle.

And overcoming the “likability factor” has been too “difficult” for Williams to overcome, Moffett said.

As for Tea Party support for Williams at the polls on Tuesday, Moffett acknowledged the group was still split between voting for Williams, voting for independent Gatewood Galbraith or not voting in the governor’s race.

But the former gubernatorial candidate who harnessed tea party support in the primary said his mind is made up.

“I’m going to vote for David Williams,” Moffett said.

Moffett told Pure Politics that he came within 10 points of Williams despite being outspent 10-1 because of his focus on reaching Republican voters in Northern and Central Kentucky.

“We worked that area like crazy,” Moffett said.

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