Some Kentucky candidates go on the attack as primary election nears

Negative political ads pop up ahead of Kentucky primary

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Are attack ads in Kentucky going too far?

It’s the question some people are asking a week out from the May 21 primary.

Many times attack ads are saved for the general election, but in a couple of cases candidates may be looking for a way to pull ahead or stand out from those in their own party.

One ad in the Republican attorney general’s race has been called violent. It depicts a white candidate shooting through a TV carrying the ad of his black opponent.

“I thought it was a little over the top,” IU Southeast Political Science professor Joe Wert said of Kentucky Attorney General candidate Wil Schroder’s ad.

Schroder fires a shotgun right at his GOP opponent Daniel Cameron’s commercial that’s playing inside a TV.

Wert does not think it’s racist, but still doesn’t think it’s a good move.

“Anytime you’re promoting violence of that kind, I’m not sure how well that’s going to play with the voters,” he said.

Schroder said the ad was in response to Cameron’s own negative attacks.

“My opponent’s campaign is taking cheap shots with dishonest attacks," he told WAVE 3 News. "The commercial brings attention to that in a memorable way. I’m clearly shooting at the TV and any suggestions of violence are ridiculous.”

Cameron told WAVE 3 News, “Wil can answer for his own ad, but we hope he doesn’t harm any more televisions before the May 21 primary.”

Wert called Cameron’s response a good political move.

“I think responding to things like that with just a little bit of humor is probably the best way to handle it,” he said.

Wert said attack ads can be a way for candidates who are actually alike in many ways to separate themselves. Both Cameron and Schroder are Trump Republicans who promise to be tough on crime.

In the Democrat’s race for governor, Wert said Adam Edelen may be trying to do the same thing with Andy Beshear as the two are also similar in some stances, but he says Beshear has more name recognition.

Edelen’s attack ad against Beshear points out a former Beshear aide pleaded guilty to bribery. Edelen also accused Beshear of taking money from the makers of Oxycontin.

Beshear responded to the attack in his own ad. Wert said that’s not always the best choice.

“There’s a danger that might make him look petty,” Wert said.

Beshear’s camp told WAVE 3 News the Edelen attacks are desperate and Beshear’s response was simply to set the record straight. They said in the aide case, federal investigators cleared Beshear completely.

“Two people want this Democratic primary to be pulled into the gutter: Matt Bevin and Adam Edelen," Beshear’s campaign manager, Eric Hyers, said. "Andy Beshear is going to stay focused on improving the lives of Kentucky families, but it is time to set the record straight. Andy has been the most aggressive AG in the country when it comes to fighting opioid companies — and this campaign won’t take their money. Andy has served the people of Kentucky with rock-solid values like transparency, honesty, and hard work. These desperate and false attack ads will continue to fall flat because Kentuckians know that Andy puts their interests first and delivers results.”

Edelen’s campaign did not get back to us.

In the midst of the battle, new campaign finance reports show where the Democratic candidates for governor are getting their funding.

Edelen’s campaign got a $1 million boost in loans from his running mate -- filmmaker and urban developer Gill Holland. Another half-million was donated by a super pac backed by Edelen’s inner circle.

Beshear raised about $300,000 in the 15 day reporting period covered by the reports.

Rocky Adkins took in a little more than $130,000.

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