Ad causing controversy in Sixth District Congressional race

By: Sam Dick - Email
By: Sam Dick - Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A television campaign ad on coal mining, centered on the identity of one man, has become the focus of the race for Congress in the Sixth District. The controversy has both campaigns leveling charges of slander and lying, tough talk even for a Kentucky race.

Heath Lovell, the man in the coal mining ad for the Andy Barr campaign, says he's a third generation Kentucky coal miner.

The Chandler campaign says Lovell isn't a miner and it's all a big lie. That had the Barr campaign calling for the Chandler campaign to immediately pull the "false and defamatory ad from the airwaves." Lovell himself served Congressman Chandler with a cease and desist letter.

WKYT Political Expert Bill Bryant says tough talk is nothing new to Kentucky Congressional races, especially one thought to be this close by some.

"What is unusual is there seems to be a threat, that this could be heading into some legal direction," Bryant said.

The Chandler campaign says, "You can't have it both ways. Heath Lovell claims he's not a spokesman, yet he just appeared in another misleading ad on behalf of the Barr campaign. We stand behind our ad exposing Lovell as a coal executive from Western Kentucky instead of an Estill County coal miner."

The Barr campaign counters, "Congressman Chandler simply needs to come clean, admit his mistake, pull his defamatory ad, and join me in a genuine debate regarding the impact of the War on Coal upon Kentucky jobs."

"I don't think in the end this is going to be a very huge issue in the minds of the voters," Bryant said. "They want to know which candidate can best create jobs, who's going to care for some of the issues that are out there."

Two years ago, Chandler defeated Barr by 647 votes. The election is November 6.

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