Less than a week before Election Day, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray launched the first negative television ad in the Democratic primary for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.
Gray’s campaign goes after former fighter pilot Amy McGrath in the 30-second ad for having recently moved to the Central Kentucky District.
“Now she’s running for Congress to represent the one place she’s never lived: here,” a narrator says. “In fact, she moved here from Maryland just last year to run for Congress. We honor Amy McGrath’s service, but shouldn’t she live here for a while before she tries to represent us?”
McGrath retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps in July 2017 and moved to Georgetown shortly after. She grew up in the Northern Kentucky town of Edgewood.
The ad signals that Gray, who has largely ignored McGrath throughout the campaign, sees the race as competitive. Voters will make their choice Tuesday.
In a post on Facebook, McGrath called the ad a sad development and asked people to condemn it.
“This is not just an attack on me,” McGrath wrote. “This is also an attack against any American citizen who chooses to serve their country in times of war and then come home to continue their service in another way.”
This isn’t the first time McGrath has been criticized for recently moving to the district. In a televised debate between the three major candidates, State Sen. Reggie Thomas said McGrath has been called a “carpetbagger” and asked her to name the counties where three small towns in the district are located.
McGrath could not, instead answering by talking about her military service.
McGrath has not aired any negative ads so far, but she has often criticized Gray as the "establishment candidate" of the Democratic Party. The day after Gray entered the race, her campaign highlighted the fact that Gray was encouraged to run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In her Facebook post, McGrath lamented Gray’s decision to go negative.
“This is part of the problem with politics today and it's why I decided to run for public office after a 20-year career as a combat Marine,” McGrath said.