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Radio Ads Target Democratic Leaders In Home Districts

AP Photo/Roger Alford

The battle for control of the Kentucky House is coming to a radio station near you, if you live in a district represented by top Democratic leaders in the chamber.

The state GOP is banking on a tried-and-true tactic to upend the Democrats’ long-standing majority – reminding voters of the leaders’ connections with the less popular national party. In a radio ad airing in Greg Stumbo’s Floyd and Pike county district, the RPK links the House Speaker to what the GOP sees as a concerted anti-coal agenda in Washington.

"Greg Stumbo wont' stand up for Kentucky values," the narrator charges. "He's just a cheerleader for Obama-Clinton Democrats."

RPK spokesman Tres Watson echoed the sentiment in an email statement, adding, "It boggles the mind how a man who purports to represent the heart of East Kentucky coal country could endorse the two politicians working the hardest to kill what coal jobs remain in the region."

A separate spot takes the same tack with the chamber’s majority leader, Rocky Atkins, in his home district. Both candidates are facing challengers in November as Republicans look to wrest control of the final remaining Democratic holdout in the south. Still, the GOP could encounter resistance this fall if voters become wary of one-party control.

"There's some evidence that voters are a bit sophisticated and they understand that if they want middle-of-the-road, moderate policies and they have a Republican governor, then they'll tend to prefer to put Democrats in the legislature to counter-balance them, and vice versa if you have a Democratic chief executive," UK political analyst Stephen Voss told WUKY in early August. 

Responding to the attacks, Stumbo told the Associated Press the ad was full of "outrageous lies" while Adkins said he has "never hesitated" to part company with the national party.

Democrats managed to hold on to their narrow majority in March, winning three of four special elections for House seats.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.