With less than two weeks to go the May 22nd primary, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and former fighter pilot Amy McGrath are ratcheting up their television ad buys to attract Democratic voters in Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.
Between May 8th and May 14th, the Gray campaign spent $38,854 on 60 second ads and $56,000 on 30 second ads, split between cable and broadcast. The cable ads will run on news channels: CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Since starting TV advertising in March, the Gray campaign has spent $398,724.
The McGrath campaign, which started advertising the week of March 13th, has spent $598,775 on cable and broadcast advertising in an effort to introduce their political newcomer to Central Kentucky. Between May 8th and May 14th, they'll add another $76,767 in ads.
With the primary in sight, both campaigns recently introduced new ads.
Gray decided to highlight the opioid epidemic and the work he did as mayor to address the crisis. He unveiled a 60 second ad last week that features Tanya Meeks, a Lexington resident whose son died from an opioid overdose.
“These issues aren’t new to Jim and his problem solving approach is all about delivering real change," said Jamie Emmons, Gray's campaign manager. "He focuses on solutions to issues and problems that affect Kentuckians, like Tanya Meeks and so many others. That’s what Jim Gray does best.”
Gray's campaign is also running an ad in which he criticizes the Republican tax reform plan and calls for more education funding . Education funding is largely handled by the state, but it has become a political talking point as statewide teacher protests over the the state's controversial pension reform law put Kentucky in the national spotlight as part of a national teacher movement.
McGrath continues to run an ad highlighting her family and the issue of health care, but has unveiled a new ad that features Marine Corps General Charles Bolden, who served as the administrator of NASA under President Barack Obama.
Bolden used to attend McGrath's soccer games when she played at the Naval Academy and served as a mentor to her through her career in the Marine Corps.
"We think it's meaningful for the voters to hear from such a highly-respected validator like General Bolden, who has known Amy since she was a young Naval Academy student, as to why they can be confident that she's the real deal and can be counted on to deliver for them once she's in Congress," said Mark Nickolas, McGrath's campaign manager.
State Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, is running targeted internet ads. Geoff Young, Daniel Kemph, and Theodore Green are also running in the Democratic primary. Chuck Eddy is challenging U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in the Republican primary. None of them have purchased television ads.