Politics & Government

McGrath responds as three new GOP attack ads flood the airwaves of Central Kentucky

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Amy McGrath, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Amy McGrath, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District.

A Republican political action committee has launched three advertisements attacking Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath, just two days after U.S. Rep. Andy Barr launched his own ad attacking the former fighter pilot.

The latest ads — two for television and one for radio — feature political messages familiar to the voters of Central Kentucky. They criticize McGrath for opposing the Republican tax overhaul, accuse her of being lax on immigration and attempt to tie her to national Democrats.

“Amy McGrath is just as liberal as Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders,” the radio spot says, echoing Barr’s message from Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, McGrath launched her first ad of the general election, once again featuring her on a runway. In it, she says she “will work with anyone if it means getting something done.”

“My first general election television ad has no attacks, no lies and no insults,” McGrath said in a statement. “Instead, it’s about my strong belief that the only way we can repair the growing dysfunction in Congress is to elect people who want to work together for the good of our country.”

Though McGrath’s campaign hasn’t gone negative, a national Democratic group that supports her aired an ad in July criticizing Barr, R-Lexington, over tariffs implemented by President Donald Trump.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, which is sponsoring the ads against McGrath, has had a field office set up in Lexington since 2017. They’ve knocked on doors and staffed a phone bank in their effort to hone a message that will resonate with voters in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District.

The ad about taxes features Hannah Thornton, who is identified as a mom from Nicholasville. The ad references McGrath’s opposition to the federal Republican tax bill passed this year and her opposition to the work requirements in Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed overhaul of Medicaid.

“So I don’t understand why Amy McGrath opposed a tax cut for working moms but wants to fund more welfare for people who can work, but don’t,” Thornton said.

The Republican tax bill does provide a tax break for most Americans, but economists estimate that it will largely benefit the wealthy. The Congressional Budget Office found that it would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit.

The ad about immigration features Anna Roberts-Smith, a Jessamine County attorney who’s involved in the Republican Party of Kentucky, talking about McGrath’s stance on immigration. In it, Roberts-Smith says McGrath is backed by liberals who want to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and that she supports open borders.

McGrath has received money from members of Congress who support abolishing ICE, but she has taken a moderate approach to immigration. She’s been clear that she does not support getting rid of ICE, has said she supports a strong border and would consider voting for Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border if it included a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as small children.

McGrath has been quietly raising money for months in the aftermath of her expensive May primary. Most of her spending in the summer has been spent on advertisements in local newspapers and opening field offices.