Coal heats up Kentucky’s U-S Senate Race: Grayson and Paul exchange attack ads

Coal is fueling a heated debate in the Republican race for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat. You can watch Trey Grayson and Rand Paul's commercials here.

Coal is fueling a heated debate in the Republican race for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat.

Trey Grayson is running a television commercial here in coal country that takes a strong swipe at his May Primary opponent Rand Paul

The ad, which is running on WYMT, uses Paul’s own words against him.  In the commercial, Paul is heard saying, “Coal is a very dirty form of energy.”  Paul made the comment during a 2008 rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee for his father’s Presidential bid.

Here is Trey Grayson’s commercial. 

Rand Paul wasted little time striking back. 

First he called Grayson’s campaign ad “intellectually dishonest and beneath someone asking to be Kentucky’s next Senator”.  Then Paul launched his own attack ad.  The Rand Paul commercial accuses Grayson of “trading Kentucky coal jobs for nuclear energy.”  The ad goes on to say Grayson is “a friend of Obama … no friend of coal.”

Here is Rand Paul’s commercial.

Coal industry officials are thrilled the candidates are talking coal.  Bill Bissett is the new President of the Kentucky Coal Association. 

“Obviously coal needs to be part of the debate and part of the dialogue between these two candidates, and for it to happen, in many ways as one of the first issues of this campaign, I think is important.”

Each of the campaigns, including Bill Johnson, issued releases regarding their stance on coal.  I’ve included those at the end of this blog.

But first, I thought you might want to read this story from AP’s Roger Alford.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican Trey Grayson paints himself as pro-coal and pegs the perceived frontrunner in the U.S. Senate race as unfriendly to the mining industry in a political ad airing in the mining region of eastern Kentucky.


The ad shows footage of a speech Republican Senate hopeful Rand Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, gave to a group in Tennessee in 2008.

"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."

The ad is running on WYMT-TV in Hazard and on cable television throughout southeastern Kentucky's heavily Republican 5th congressional district, where mining is a key driver of the economy.

"That ad should cause great difficulty not only in the 5th district, but anywhere you have significant coal interests," said University of Kentucky political scientist Donald Gross. "This is a real problem for Paul."

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-of-state financial donors. Paul made the statement while campaigning in Chattanooga for his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, during his unsuccessful presidential bid two years ago.

Grayson said in a statement that tens of thousands of Kentucky jobs depend on coal. "Whether I'm in eastern Kentucky, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere you can always count on me to fight for Kentucky's priorities, including coal," he said. "I know that coal must be a part of any realistic solution to reducing our dependence on foreign energy and to supplying clean, abundant, domestic energy resources to fuel our economic recovery."

Paul campaign manager David Adams didn't dispute the past comments, but said Paul isn't anti-coal. "Rand Paul supports using what coal we have here until a better energy source comes along," Adams said. "That may be several decades, which is plenty of time for Trey Grayson to make up more nonsense to try to get his failing political career back on track."


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Here are the releases from Grayson, Paul and Johnson campaigns.


Trey Grayson: 

Secretary of State Trey Grayson has launched his first television ad on WYMT-TV in Hazard as well as Eastern Kentucky cable systems.  The ad contrasts Trey Grayson’s views in support of investing in new clean coal technologies to support Kentucky coal jobs with the views of Rand Paul who has a history of opposing coal.
“Tens of thousands of jobs in Kentucky depend on the coal industry,” Grayson said.  “Whether I’m in Eastern Kentucky, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere you can always count on me to fight for Kentucky’s priorities, including coal.  I know that coal must be a part of any realistic solution to reducing our dependence on foreign energy and to supplying clean, abundant, domestic energy resources to fuel our economic recovery.”

Grayson previously ran a 60-second radio ad that aired statewide.

The new Grayson ad shows Rand Paul speaking to a group of Ron Paul supporters in Tennessee during the 2008 campaign where he says, “Coal's a very dirty form of energy.  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."  (Speech to Ron Paul for President Supporters in Chattanooga, TN, 02/02/08)

Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson said, “This perfectly illustrates a pattern with Rand Paul.  He says one thing to Kentucky voters and then consistently takes a completely different stance with the out-of-state donors who are devout followers of his father’s fringe agenda and make up 80% of his contributors.  Coal is just the latest example after his 180 degree switch from a pro-abortion position to the unbelievable claim that he is now suddenly pro-life as well as his attempts to mislead voters on his dangerous position in favor of closing the Guantanamo terrorist detention facility and releasing the prisoners held there back into battle against U.S. troops.”

Trey Grayson is building a grassroots campaign around local leaders, including dozens of County Judge-Executives and state legislators as well as seven Louisville Metro Council members who’ve endorsed his candidacy.  Trey Grayson is the only candidate for U.S. Senate endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life PAC.

Rand Paul:

In response to Trey Grayson’s first attack ad in the Kentucky Senate Campaign, the Rand Paul Campaign issued the following statement:

"There is no candidate who will stand up for Kentucky’s Coal Industry more than Rand Paul.  To twist his words and draw conclusions that are opposite to Dr. Paul's positions is intellectually dishonest and beneath someone asking to be Kentucky's next Senator.

"Dr. Paul has stated repeatedly that he opposes Cap and Trade and opposes a runaway EPA that vows to write its own greenhouse emission rules without Congressional Approval.

"Furthermore, Dr. Paul has called for sun-setting EPA regulations on Coal and forcing the EPA to streamline or eliminate the onerous permit process. Dr. Paul has also defended mountaintop removal of coal.  It's hard to imagine a candidate who has taken a more clear and consistent stand against out-of-control government regulation and intrusion into private businesses.

"Trey Grayson clearly takes Paul's comments out of context and attempts to imply that Dr. Paul is anti-coal.  This is a political game, and to show how easy it is to do, the same could be done to Grayson's comments:

"And so we feel like going forward, that this is a zero emission, um, process, and as where some of these coal fire plants are being phased out, we need to probably, we need to bring nuclear on. And from a cost effectiveness standpoint, uh, they're much more cost effective just because the cost to make a clean coal plant is so expensive that nuclear becomes a viable option." - Trey Grayson

"Does that make Grayson anti-Coal?

"This attack is no doubt the first in a series of distortions and lies to attempt to tear down Dr. Paul's grassroots campaign.   Trey Grayson clearly can't say he's the outsider who will fight against career politicians.  He can't say he'd be the strongest advocate for limited government.  He can't say he'd fight back against bailouts, out of control spending and earmarks.

He can't say he'd fight for Term Limits or against big government establishment politicians.

So he's instead trying to right his failing campaign by attacking.  It won't work.  The people of Kentucky can and will see through Grayson's political games."


Bill Johnson

“Dr. Paul claims that coal is dirty and one of the least favorable forms of energy.  I believe that Washington is dirty and needs cleaned up.  Coal is an abundant God given resource that improves our quality of life. Let’s mine.
“Low cost energy generated from coal is fundamental to our quality of life in Kentucky and around the country. Coal powers our homes, businesses, and public services across the state. The bottom line is that coal creates jobs and is one of the least expensive forms of electricity generation.  
“Aluminum production is an energy intensive industry.  Because of coal, Kentucky was the #1 in primary aluminum shipments in 2005 and continues to be a major aluminum producing state. Steel production, also energy intensive, is also a major industry in Kentucky.  These are just two examples of jobs created from the coal industry.
“Kentucky remains rich in coal, but production in Kentucky has decreased by approximately 30% since 1990.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other government agencies are standing between Kentucky and our natural resources.  It is time to ABOLISH the EPA and get the federal government out of our way.
“I support all forms of coal removal including mountain top removal and development. I stand firmly against cap and trade legislation as well as all new taxes on energy.


Thanks for making  WYMT-TV your source for news and information. 

We appreciate your trust.

God Bless America!
Neil Middleton
WYMT Mountain News
Appreciate Freedom – Thank a Vet!

Follow me on Twitter


Read More Blogs
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus


2851 Winchester Rd. Lexington, Ky 40509 859-299-0411 - switchboard 859-299-2727 - newsroom
Register for Email
RSS Feeds
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability
Gray Television, Inc.