FRANKFORT — An out-of-state advocacy group is spending big bucks on television ads in Kentucky to criticize Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul for threatening "Kentucky values."
The 30-second spot says Paul is "opposed to helping farmers" and calls coal "the least favorable form of energy."
American Future Fund, based in Des Moines, Iowa, launched the ad Friday, spending $104,296 to air the the spot 148 times in the Lexington TV market before the May 18 election, according to the public ad file at WKYT-TV.
That spending dwarfs the amount being spent for Lexington TV ads by either Paul or his chief opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Paul is spending about $26,000 to air ads on WKYT from May 3 to May 18, compared with $51,105 being spent by American Future Fund to air ads on the channel from May 7 to May 17. Grayson is spending $17,880 with WKYT for ads that air from May 3 to May 10.
Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon and son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, holds a 12-point lead in the U.S. Senate GOP primary over Grayson in a Kentucky Poll released on Wednesday.
"If this attack group really cared about Kentucky issues, they would be talking to Rand Paul instead of running misleading $100,000 ad campaigns against him," said David Adams, Paul's campaign manager. "Fortunately, Kentuckians aren't buying what these people from Iowa are selling."
Adams said it was interesting that Grayson campaign pollster Jan van Lohuizen is affiliated with the American Future Fund. Van Lohuizen is listed on the organization's Web site as a founder of the group.
Grayson's campaign manager, Nate Hodson, said the campaign had no idea that American Future Fund intended to play a role in the race.
"We saw the ad yesterday on YouTube after our media buyer noticed that this group was buying ads," Hodson said. "It's not a great ad. We think our own ad and our own message works better."
The ad also says "Kentucky's great military families would be surprised to know what Paul thinks of nuclear Iran" and that Paul says "nothing" on creating Kentucky jobs.
"The people of Kentucky want to know when they are going back to work," AFF spokesman Nick Ryan said in a statement.
"With unemployment at an all-time high, Kentuckians are looking for real solutions to Kentucky's economic future, not deafening silence on that issue from their leaders."
Meanwhile, Paul's campaign launched its own new advertisement on Friday. It takes Grayson to task for saying that it is "not really practical" to promise that he would never vote for a budget that isn't balanced.
The ad's narrator responds: "What's not practical is a trillion dollar deficit."