The Republican challenger to Attorney General Jack Conway tried to deflect criticism of his record as a county attorney by reminding Kentuckians on Thursday of an infamous attack ad aired by the Democratic incumbent in his failed run for the Senate last year.
Republican candidate Todd P'Pool started running a TV commercial that dredges up memories of Conway's "Aqua Buddha" ad attacking Republican Rand Paul late in the heated Senate race.
In the 2010 ad, Conway focused on allegations Paul was affiliated during college with a group that mocked Christianity and worshipped a god he called "Aqua Buddha." Paul, who went on to win the election, called the ad false and denounced it as gutter politics.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Conway distanced himself from the "Aqua Buddha" ad and said in hindsight he would have done things differently.
P'Pool's ad, running in several Kentucky markets, says Conway embarrassed Kentucky nationally with the personal attack. The ad claims that Conway and his allies are "lying again" — this time about P'Pool's record.
P'Pool's ad is meant as a defensive against an outside interest group that criticized the Republican's work as a trial lawyer and Hopkins County attorney. The group claimed instances when P'Pool improperly billed state government while working on child-support payment cases and raised a client's fees in the middle of the case. P'Pool says the attacks are false.
Campaign manager David Ray said the Republican brought up the Senate ad because it "highlights Jack Conway's poor judgment."
"This is an attorney general that has displayed poor judgment on a number of occasions and this is one of the most glaring examples of that," he said.
Conway campaign spokeswoman Allison Haley said it's the Republican challenger who is focused on personal attacks. "He's desperate and lying about Jack's outstanding record of following through on his promises to make Kentucky safer and defend our vital coal industry by suing the EPA," she said in a statement.
Meanwhile, P'Pool's campaign said Thursday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will appear at a rally in Louisville next Wednesday.