FRANKFORT — Richard Moloney, an independent candidate in the Dec. 10 special election in Lexington for the state Senate's 13th District, accused his Democratic opponent, Reginald Thomas, this week of "playing fast and loose with the facts" by labeling Moloney a Republican.
Moloney, in a news release, said Thomas also is resorting to his days as a University of Kentucky law professor. He was referring to questions that have risen about why Thomas left UK in 1984.
Thomas' campaign consultant, Jim Cauley, said Moloney's news release says he "was" a Democrat.
"The only person being fast and loose is Richard Moloney. Mr. Moloney has said on several occasions that he might caucus with the Republicans in the state Senate, and Richard's campaign is being bankrolled by Republican donors.
"The truth is that Gov. (Steve) Beshear has endorsed, raised money for and is working very hard for Reggie Thomas. The Democratic party of Fayette County picked Reggie Thomas as the one Democrat who could carry on the legacy of Kathy Stein and Ernesto Scorsone."
Beshear called the election after he appointed Stein, a Democrat, to a Fayette Circuit Court judgeship. Scorsone, also a Democrat, held the state Senate seat before Stein.
"Reggie will work with Gov. Beshear and Democrats in Frankfort to improve education, work for better jobs and affordable health care," Cauley said.
Moloney and Thomas face each other and Republican Michael Johnson, a minister, in the special election.
Moloney, a seven-term member of the Lexington City Council, said Thomas, an attorney and a Kentucky State University professor, sent out a mailer this week to voters that accused him of being a Republican and not an ally of Beshear.
Moloney said he was a registered Democrat in the district for the past 34 years until he changed his party registration to independent six weeks ago to run for the Senate.
Thomas' mailer also ignores that Moloney was Beshear's housing, buildings and construction commissioner for three years, Moloney said.
Moloney said he has publicly and repeatedly stated that, if elected, he would "work closely" with Beshear, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and his colleagues in the Senate.
"I am not a Republican, never have been and Mr. Thomas knows it," Moloney said.
"While I'm disappointed, I'm not surprised that Mr. Thomas has returned to his days at the University of Kentucky, when he abruptly resigned amid questions involving academic misconduct and is once again playing fast and loose with the facts.
"Unfortunately for the voters of the 13th District, this seems to be a recurring pattern with Mr. Thomas."
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Nov. 23 that Thomas said he didn't know why he was denied tenure and faced possible termination from his job as an assistant law professor at UK in 1984.
Documents obtained by the newspaper under the state Open Records Act revealed that questions were raised at the time about his teaching methods and "lack of quotation marks ... in two articles."
Moloney said it is "only natural" that Thomas "resorts to misrepresenting facts and intentionally misleading voters" because he is desperate as a candidate who has lived in the district for only four months and is "unknown and unproven."
Thomas was placed in the district in August, when state lawmakers redrew the boundaries of state legislative districts.
Moloney said the voters in the 13th District know him as a former city council member and Gray's first administrative officer.
"I have faith that the voters of the district will reject Mr. Thomas' outrageously false, negative campaign," he said.
Two forums for the state Senate candidates from Lexington's 13th District are scheduled. They are:
3:30 p.m. Sunday. Greater Liberty Baptist Church, 330 Chestnut St.,
7 p.m. Monday. Woodland Christian Church, 530 E. High St.