- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s Republican candidates for governor wrapped up their campaigns on Monday with a series of low-key events across the state following a tense primary season that highlighted the growing pains of a party that has long been dominated in state elections.

Matt Bevin, James Comer and Hal Heiner appear to be tied after a bitterly contested campaign that has frayed Republican allegiances. Democrats have won nine out of the last 10 elections for governor and control five of the six statewide constitutional offices. But Republicans have made tremendous gains in voter registration since 2012 and view November’s election as key to sustaining their party’s momentum.

Hal Heiner started the day at a Shelby County golf course, greeting a few dozen people at the start of a golf scramble. The former Louisville metro councilman pumped hands and made small talk, telling them “I need your help tomorrow” and urging them to spread the word to their family and friends.

“There’s a realization across this state that we’re not where we can be. And I think when the final decision is made Tuesday, I think they’ll be joining with us in this effort,” he said.

Things have been tense between Heiner and candidate James Comer since last summer, when Heiner gave his campaign $4.2 million of his own money, prompting Comer to accuse him of trying to buy the election. Things escalated a few weeks ago when Marilyn Thomas wrote a letter to the Courier-Journal accusing Comer of emotionally and physically abusing her while the two dated in college more than two decades ago. Comer has denied those allegations and has blamed Heiner for spreading those rumors.

Friday, Heiner began airing a TV ad based on the abuse allegations. But Monday, he sidestepped questions about it.

“I believe that issue is between Jamie Comer and the young lady,” Heiner said.

Comer spent the day bouncing between cities in the state’s old 5th Congressional District, a 16-county region that has helped some Republican candidates overcome poor margins in the state’s more populated areas. Comer was scheduled to tour a business in London before visiting with elected Republican officials in Somerset, Jamestown, Columbia and Glasgow. He plans to spend the night in his native Tompkinsville and vote Tuesday morning before heading back to Frankfort to watch the returns.

In an interview, Comer said he’s tried to focus on issues the last few days of the campaign and not be distracted by the abuse allegations, which he acknowledged could play a big role in Tuesday’s election.

“It’s shameful the way the Heiner-Crosbie campaign has been run,” Comer said, also mentioning Heiner’s running mate, KC Crosbie. “I predict voters are going to reject the tone of his campaign and him as a candidate.”

Comer said he’s relying on two things to win: his message of growing the middle class and his campaign’s efforts to get their supporters to the polls.

“There are going to be counties in the state that have a significant spike in turnout because of our ground game and I think in those counties we’re going to turn the score up big,” he said while declining to identify those counties.

Matt Bevin did not have any public campaign events listed and a spokesman did not return messages seeking comment. But Bevin aired a new 60-second TV spot on Monday that highlights his jobs plan.

“You will find very specific ideas on how we can cut taxes, shrink the size of government, fix our pension system, repeal Kynect, and stop Obama’s war on Kentucky,” Bevin says in the ad. “All these things will only happen if you wake up tomorrow and go to the polls. It is your right, it is your privilege, and it’s your obligation.”

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide