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Drugs, health care reform at issue in Conway-Paul race


A conservative political group began airing another TV ad Tuesday in several Kentucky cities attacking Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway for supporting “ObamaCare.”

Washington-based Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies put up the ad on the same day that the Conway campaign attacked Republican Rand Paul’s drug policy, charging that his opposition to federal help to fight the war on drugs in local jurisdictions would pose create serious problems.

Both are issues that matter to Kentucky voters. The campaigns have been keying on them with little more than two months remaining before Kentucky voters decide one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. Conway and Paul are seeking to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, a 78-year-old sports icon who opted not to seek a third term.

Crossroads had purchased $520,000 worth of air time last week in four television markets for issue ads attacking Conway. The latest ad shows images of President Barack Obama and Conway together in a rearview mirror. It replaces a similar ad that is currently airing.

The new one purports to show Conway and Obama going the wrong way on a road despite warning signs. It criticizes Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, for endorsing the Democratic president’s health care reforms and for refusing to join 13 other attorneys general in opposing them.

“Jack Conway was wrong to endorse ObamaCare and he’s wrong to keep defending it when Kentucky families need relief from big government mandates and spending,” Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said in a statement. “Conway’s job is to defend Kentucky citizens, and our ad calls him to do his job by challenging Obama’s disastrous health care law.”

Conway spokesman John Collins said the Democratic candidate wants Kentuckians to have medical care.

“While Jack Conway will always fight to make quality health care more affordable and accessible to Kentuckians, Rand Paul believes drug abuse isn’t a ‘real pressing issue’ and will handcuff Kentucky law enforcement in the war on drugs,” Collin said.

A Kentucky sheriff warned Tuesday that Paul’s suggestion to halt federal anti-drug funding to local law enforcement agencies would lead to “total chaos.”

“It would give drug dealers the green light to go,” said Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, who openly supports Conway in the race.

The Conway campaign arranged for Eaton to speak with reporters Tuesday afternoon via a conference call, supposedly to dispute the Paul campaign’s contention that meth production has increased sharply since Conway became attorney general in Kentucky. Eaton didn’t dispute that claim, saying instead that he’s seeing a significant rise in meth production.

However, Eaton told reporters that local law enforcement agencies doesn’t have the resources to combat drug trafficking without federal assistance.

“Without federal funding to fight the war on drugs, then I think we’re showing the drug dealers, hey, we give up,” Eaton said.

Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson joined the fray late Tuesday afternoon, calling on Conway to forfeit his salary as attorney general while away for fundraising. Robertson claimed Conway will be traveling out of state to raise money 20 days in the next month.

Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley didn’t respond to Robertson’s claim, saying only that Conway “is working to protect Kentucky families 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

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