FRANKFORT — Republican Ryan Quarles of Georgetown got some help from the University of Kentucky in his bid to become a state legislator.
But UK says a billboard it put up on Lexington's New Circle Road with Quarles' photo on it was not a move to help his political career and that it will be removed.
The billboard — part of UK's "See Blue" promotional campaign — is one of 11 that highlight some of UK's most successful students, said UK spokesman Jimmy Stanton.
Stanton said the campaign "was produced and space purchased long before we knew that Ryan was a candidate."
Quarles, a third-year law student at UK, filed for the state House seat held by Democrat Charlie Hoffman of Georgetown on Jan. 22. He announced in October in the Herald-Leader he would be a candidate to represent the 62nd House District.
Stanton said UK would produce another billboard to replace the one featuring Quarles and remove it as soon as possible.
Quarles, 26, said he signed a release with UK to use his name and photo in promotions after he won a prestigious scholarship. He said he knew UK was planning to use him in promotions, but he did not know about the billboard until a few weeks ago.
Quarles stressed he's one of several students in the promotional campaign. "I was honored," he said. "I'm a proud Wildcat and happy to help my university."
A liberal-leaning blog, Blue Bluegrass, began urging readers on Monday to ask UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. to remove the billboard, saying it was improper to use tax dollars to benefit a political candidate.