Whitesburg KY

Senate candidates doing battle over who supports coal


Republican Rand Paul responded just a day after his chief GOP opponent in the U.S. Senate race launched an attack ad accusing him of being unfriendly to the mining industry.

Paul began airing an ad on Tuesday that suggests Secretary of State Trey Grayson favors nuclear power plants over coal-fired power plants.

“As soon as coal-fired plants are being phased out, we need to bring nuclear on,” Grayson said in the ad that is being aired in the mining region of eastern Kentucky.

In another clip that is part of the same 30-second ad, Grayson says “I look forward to doing my part as secretary of state and as a citizen to work with President Obama.” Obama is unpopular in Kentucky’s mountain region in part because of the perception that he opposes the mining industry.

The Paul campaign moved quickly to air the latest ad in response to the one Grayson began airing on Monday. Both now are running on WYMT-TV in Hazard and on cable television in southeastern Kentucky.

The Grayson ad shows footage of a speech Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, gave to a group in Tennessee in 2008 while campaigning for his father, former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, a Texas congressman.

“Coal’s a very dirty form of energy,” Paul said in the speech. “You may have coal around here that needs to be mined, but I mean the thing is that it’s probably one of the least favorable forms of energy.”

Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson claimed Monday that Paul’s comments about coal illustrates a pattern of saying one thing to Kentucky voters and another to out-ofstate financial donors.

Paul campaign manager David Adams accused the Grayson campaign of being “intellectually dishonest” by taking the comment out of context in the attack ad.

“There is no candidate who will stand up for Kentucky’s coal industry more than Rand Paul,” Adams said.

Mountain residents typically support pro-coal candidates, making the issue an important one in the mining region, said University of Kentucky political scientist Don Gross.

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