Republican gubernatorial candidates prepare for televised debate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidates were
preparing Monday afternoon for a final televised debate before next
week's primary election.

Kentucky Educational Television is hosting the faceoff between
Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman Phil
Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw beginning at 8
p.m. EDT.

Polls show Williams with a substantial lead in the three-way
race, but with turnout predicted at a near record low, the
Burkesville lawyer is leaving nothing to chance, having spent more
than $1 million so far on the primary campaign. That's 10 times
more than Moffett, the tea party candidate and the second leading
fundraiser who banked $100,000.

Only about 15 percent of Kentucky's registered voters are
expected to cast ballots in the May 17 primary, creating
uncertainty in some quarters about polling results.

"What happens is only the most motivated voters are the ones
who are going to turn out," said Moffett campaign manager David
Adams. "That's the tea party in the Republican primary."

The candidates also can count on stalwart Republicans to turn
out - the reliables who vote in every primary and who are informed
on the issues. Those also are the voters who will likely be
watching the Monday night debate.

In Kentucky politics, the public television debate is considered
key because it gives voters a chance to see and hear the candidates
a week before the primary. Their lines will have been polished
after months of campaigning. Williams has been repeating the
refrain that Kentucky is adrift and needs new leadership. Moffett
has been promising to rein-in government spending and reduce the
state's debt. And Holsclaw has lamented the political gridlock in
Frankfort, saying she will bring political leaders together for the
good of the state.

The winner of next week's primary will face Democratic Gov.
Steve Beshear in the fall general election. Beshear, who is proving
to be a political dynamo despite having taken office in the midst
of an economic recession that forced more than $1 billion in budget
cuts, has already raised $5 million for his re-election bid.

In a report filed Monday with the Kentucky Registry of Election
Finance, the Beshear campaign reported raising another $222,484 in
just two weeks in April.

Beshear campaign manager Bill Hyers boasted that Beshear banked
nearly three times the amount raised by Williams, the best-funded
Republican. Williams reported raising $77,000 for the same two-week period.

In addition to the GOP primary winner, Beshear will face
independent candidate Gatewood Galbriath, a Lexington lawyer, in
the fall general election.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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