FRANKFORT — The first television ad in the race to fill a vacant Central Kentucky state House seat attempts to label two of the three candidates as tax-and-spend liberals.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based group devoted to electing state-level Republicans, is running an ad on cable TV to benefit Republican Lyen Crews in the 56th House District race, which includes Woodford County and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties.
Voters in the district will choose a new representative on June 25. Former Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, resigned the seat to take a higher education post.
The 30-second ad, called "Two Liberals," shows photos of the three candidates in the race: Democrat James Kay II, independent John-Mark Hack and Crews. All are from Woodford County.
"Two of them are liberals," the ad says. It calls Hack "the old liberal, longtime lobbyist bureaucrat" and Kay "the young liberal, a few years out of school, all of them spent in politics.
"Kay worked to re-elect Obama and keep Obamacare. Both support more government spending and higher taxes."
It dubs them "professionals at politics."
"Can't we do better?" the ad asks before providing an answer, "Lyen Crews, responsible, conservative businessman."
Kay's campaign manager, Chad Aull, said "it's sad that Lyen Crews and his allies are bringing negative DC-style partisan politics to our area."
Aull called the ad "totally false."
"James Kay is proud to be a pro-education and pro-gun Democrat who reflects our values and will fight for us in Frankfort," he said.
Hack, in an email, said the ad "uses the same old tired lies and labels used by political party bosses everywhere."
Hack challenged Crews to publicly denounce the ad and demand that it be pulled immediately.
"How Lyen Crews responds will tell voters of this district whether he is going to be a leader for the people of the 56th District or just another follower, controlled by his party bosses," Hack said.
Matthew Walter, a spokesman for the Republican group, said the ad will appear more broadly next week. He did not elaborate.