Kentucky Sports Radio's GOP debate got intense at times

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - It is being called the nation's nastiest campaign of 2015 and this morning, the Republican race for Kentucky governor lived up to its billing.

Kentucky's leading Republican candidates for governor faced off Wednesday in a debate on Kentucky Sports Radio.

Wednesday's debate was hosted by KSR's Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond and all four candidates — Will T. Scott, James Comer, Hal Heiner and Matt Bevin — participated. The debate comes just one day after Comer went on the defense after his former college girlfriend went public with allegations of abuse.

With the primary election two weeks away — all of the republican candidates had a chance to talk about what they would like to accomplish if elected to the state's top job. The candidates touched on a variety of topics, including the state's growing drug problem, gay marriage, marijuana and who is the state's best basketball coach.

A radio show listener asked the men what they thought was the most important issue to address in the state. All four men said the state had to find ways to add more jobs. Scott said he plans to focus on the state's growing drug problem.

When asked about gay marriage, all of them spoke out against it. On medicinal use of marijuana, three said they would support it, if it's backed up by science or the FDA. Comer said he'd like to see hemp used instead of marijuana.

The candidates were asked if they could hire only one coach for a college basketball program who would it be: John Calipari or Rick Pitino. Comer and Scott picked Calipari; Bevin and Heiner chose Pitino.

Toward the end of the debate, the controversy shifted to the allegations made against Comer. Jones asked whether the other candidates thought these allegations, which Comer has denied, should disqualify him from the race. None of the candidates said he should be eliminated. Some said it was a personal matter between Comer and his accuser.

After essentially defending Comer, Bevin went on attack against Heiner. Comer also said he thinks Heiner's camp is behind the attacks. Heiner denied those allegations.

"Do you believe Hal Heiner was part of this story coming out?" Jones asked.

Comer said: "I certainly hope not. His campaign was."

"To insinuate that somehow we are behind this, is totally and absolutely false," Heiner said.

Finally, all of the candidates said they would support the person who wins this race because, they said, any of them is better than Democratic candidate Jack Conway.

Top row: Hal Heiner, left, and James Comer. Bottom row: Matt Bevin, left, and Will T. Scott.

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