FRANKFORT— Republican congressional candidate Alecia Webb-Edgington, a state lawmaker, was absent during votes last week on several key legislative issues, including adoption of a state budget.
That has triggered criticism from an opposing campaign in the crowded GOP primary.
Webb-Edgington was attending a fund-raiser in Shelbyville on Friday evening when her colleagues in the House passed a $19 billion state budget.
Jonathan Duke, campaign manager for Republican opponent Gary Moore, criticized Webb-Edgington on Monday, suggesting that she had put fund-raising ahead of her legislative responsibilities.
Webb-Edgington, a retired state police major and former head of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, said a shift in the legislative calendar caused a scheduling conflict. The legislature was initially scheduled to be off Thursday and Friday, so her campaign scheduled events on those days.
"I would have not scheduled an event had I not thought the calendar was going to be clear," Webb-Edgington said. "But I had no ability to make a change once this had been scheduled. I couldn't do that to these people. So, it was just one of those things that couldn't be helped. It was unfortunate."
Webb-Edgington campaign manager Rick VanMeter said his candidate will register a "no" vote on the state budget when the House reconvenes on April 12. Her vote would not have changed the outcome. The budget passed 81-7.
Duke said that Webb-Edgington also was absent Thursday when the House voted on a bill that would limit cold and allergy sufferers from buying more than two packages a month of popular medicines such as Claritin D and Allegra. Those and similar medicines contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the illegal drug methamphetamine that's being widely abused in Kentucky. The legislation is intended to make it more difficult for criminals to produce meth.
VanMeter accused Moore, the judge-executive in Boone County, of trying to distract voters. "While Alecia has been outspoken about where she stands on the issues, it is clear that Judge Moore is desperate to distract from his record of pushing for tax increases, increasing sewer rates, and his lackluster résumé," VanMeter said.
Moore, who has been judge-executive for more than a decade, had pressed unsuccessfully for a tax to support local parks in Boone County. He also supported raising monthly sewer bills to cover the cost of bringing the sanitation system up to federal standards.
Moore and Webb-Edgington are among seven GOP candidates seeking to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis.