By Roger Alford – Associated Press
FRANKFORT — A conservative political group plans to begin airing a TV ad in Kentucky on Wednesday attacking Democrat Jack Conway for having financial backing from “left-wing” donors for his U.S. Senate campaign.
Washington-based American Crossroads said Tuesday it is spending $235,000 to air the ad for a week in four television markets covering western Kentucky, a region made up largely of conservative Democrats who tend to vote Republican in federal races.
Conway is running against Republican Rand Paul for the Senate seat being vacated by 78-year-old Jim Bunning who opted not to seek a third term.
The ad assails Conway for having the support of “left-wing activists and politicians,” citing specifically Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California. The ad includes a photo of a smiling Conway topped with mugs of Kerry, Boxer and President Barack Obama.
“It’s no surprise Jack Conway support’s Obama’s liberal heath care takeover and the failed Washington stimulus,” a narrator says.
American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the 30-second ad will run in Bowling Green, Paducah, Evansville, Ind. and Nashville, Tenn.
American Crossroads and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS, have already aired at least two previous ads in Kentucky. They’ve also run ads in California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania attacking Democrats or supporting Republicans.
The groups were launched under the direction of two of former President George W. Bush’s top political advisers, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, who still serve as informal advisers.
Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley dismissed the ad Tuesday night, calling it “just a desperate attempt by Karl Rove and Rand Paul to distract” from more important issues in the race.
Under rules liberalized by the Supreme Court and a federal appellate court, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations. American Crossroads is registered with the Federal Election Commission and as such must reveal its donors, but Crossroads GPS is registered only as a nonprofit with the IRS and doesn’t have to disclose its sources of money.
Crossroads GPS had purchased $520,000 worth of air time in Kentucky earlier this month in four television markets for issue ads attacking Conway. The last one showed images of President Barack Obama and Conway together in an automobile’s rearview mirror, purporting to show them going the wrong way on a road despite warning signs. It criticized Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, for endorsing the Democratic president’s health care reforms and for refusing to join 13 other attorneys general in opposing them.