With the race for governor nearing the Labor Day starting gun, Americans for Prosperity will unleash significant attacks this week to try to tie Democrat Jack Conway to President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
Americans for Prosperity, which enjoys the backing of the Koch brothers, will begin running a new ad this week, to the tune of a "hefty" six-figure buy, that will be accompanied by mailings and a grass-roots component, with a goal of knocking on several thousand doors within the next three weeks.
The ad, which is in keeping with the theme that Conway is a supporter of "Obamacare," lays out a dire portrait of the effect the health care law has had in Kentucky.
"There's a crisis in our hospitals," the ad says. "Billions in cuts. Services shut down. Premiums skyrocketing. And now it's costing us jobs. The reason? Obamacare."
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The ad goes on to hit Conway as a supporter of the health care law, reminding voters the Democratic attorney general "said he was proud" to support the law.
"Other attorneys general went to court to stop Obamacare — Conway refused," the ad says. "From our living rooms to the waiting room, Jack Conway doesn't get Kentucky families."
Julia Crigler, Kentucky's director for AFP, said Friday that "career politicians around the country did not fight Obamacare in court, and neither did Jack Conway; instead he chose Washington over Kentucky, government-controlled health care over free-market solutions, sound bites over sound policy.
"Our grass-roots will be holding Conway accountable for the jobs Obamacare has killed and the premium hikes Kentucky families are struggling to pay due to his inaction."
With the race still generating little interest among the wider electorate, the ad war is expected to escalate greatly in coming weeks, especially with Labor Day — the traditional top of the homestretch — next weekend.
Conway has made an embrace of Kynect, Kentucky's version of the law, part of his stump speech, accusing Republican opponent Matt Bevin of being "callous" for wanting to "kick a half a million" Kentuckians off of their health insurance.
Shortly after announcing his campaign in late January, Bevin said that if elected he would immediately end the expanded Medicaid qualifications Gov. Steve Beshear implemented and begin transferring "Obamacare" enrollees to the federal exchange.
While Bevin still says he wants to move Kynect enrollees to the federal exchange, he has backed off dramatically on his call for ending the Medicaid expansion immediately.
In response to the new ad, Conway spokesman Daniel Kemp said: "No amount of false attacks from Matt Bevin's East Coast allies will distract from Bevin's own very real failure to pay his taxes and his refusal to release his tax returns. Here in Kentucky, we know that Attorney General Conway is an independent leader who always puts Kentucky first and that we can't trust an East Coast con man like Bevin to look out for us."