- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

BROWNSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A candidate running for a Kentucky House seat who was indicted by a federal grand jury says he is innocent of the charge and won’t withdraw from the race.

The Daily News (http://bit.ly/1sR98Iz) in Bowling Green reports Democrat John Wayne Smith of Smiths Grove made the comments Thursday to a group of supporters at the Edmonson County Courthouse. His comments came a day after the Democratic Party asked him to withdraw.

“An innocent person who wavers at the first instance of false accusation or criticism would be unworthy to be called your representative,” Smith said.

Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury on Monday along with five other current or former officials with the Bluegrass Challenge Academy at Fort Knox. He is charged with failing to report an allegation of sex abuse.

Smith is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Michael Meredith in House District 19, which includes portions of Edmonson and Warren counties.

Smith said he hopes voters will express dissatisfaction for any negative campaigning stemming from the charge at the ballot box.

“I know the people I am working to represent recognize these attacks for what they are and hope any future attacks regarding these allegations cause those listening or watching to be resolved to vote against smear tactics,” he said.

Smith said he understands why the Kentucky Democratic Party asked him to withdraw from the race, but he has decided to stay in it.

“If I withdrew from this campaign in the face of an accusation, as I said, I would not be worthy to serve the people of District 19,” he said. “My first goal when I’m running for office and when I’m elected is to the people you see here in these communities. If anyone would think that I’m going to be a puppet for the state Democratic party, I would hope that these actions would remove that from your mind.”

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com

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