FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gesturing toward the state Capitol,
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear echoes what has
become a familiar refrain about cleaning up state government in his
first television ad of the fall campaign.
"Unfortunately, some politicians care more about what's good
for themselves," Beshear laments in the ad. "I'm running to
change that, to finally clean this place up."
The words are reminiscent of those used four years ago by Gov.
Ernie Fletcher, who won handily by making that his chief campaign
promise only to have his administration marred by a special grand
jury probe into political patronage.
The Beshear ad, which began airing on Monday in Louisville and
other Kentucky cities, marks the kickoff of the most expensive part
of the fall campaign, the one where candidates reach out to voters
in their living rooms. Fletcher is expected to begin airing his
first television ad on Tuesday. In it, he vilifies casino gambling.
The frequency of the ads will quicken as the Nov. 6 election
"People are desperate for leaders, real leaders who can bring
us together to make Kentucky better," Beshear says in his ad, as
he calls for a change of leadership in the state.
Fletcher plans to air a series of ads that talks about a tour he
made of casino communities across the country.
"What I saw was not very pretty," Fletcher said in a statement
about the tour. "I learned a great deal about the financial and
social costs of casinos and it is important to show Kentuckians
firsthand what harmful effects casinos would have on Kentucky."
Fletcher is trying to make casino gambling a key issue in the
race. He has taken a strong stand against expanding gambling beyond
Kentucky's horse racing tracks. Beshear favors a proposal for a
referendum to allow voters to decide whether to change the state
Constitution to allow casinos.
Fletcher campaign spokesman Jason Keller said the ads will air
on network television in Bowling Green, Hazard, Lexington,
Louisville and Paducah and on cable stations across the state.
Money determines when campaigns begin the ad wars, said Larry
Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of
In the Kentucky race, both Fletcher and Beshear had tough
primary campaigns. Fletcher spent about $3.4 million to Beshear's
$1.9 million, according to records the candidates filed with the
Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Sabato said if the candidates didn't have to replenish their
exhausted campaign accounts after the primary election, they likely
would have began airing political ads earlier for the general
"I think most of us wish we could return to the good old days
when Labor Day was the advertising kickoff," Sabato said. "Those
days are gone forever."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)