Attack ad was low, mean-spirited

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was a horrible pick by the Democratic Party for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and he was not a good pick to run in the 6th Congressional District this year, either.

In 2016, the far-left Gray was trounced by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The revisionist historian was simply out of touch with Kentucky voters and Paul’s margin of victory showed that. Gray carried only seven of Kentucky’s 120 counties, two of which were Fayette and Jefferson, and was beaten by Paul by 15 percentage points.

Last week, we watched as Gray was once again defeated, this time in the Democratic primary by political newcomer and retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath by more than 8 percentage points. This was an interesting race to watch, as many out-of-state donors spent a lot of money on these candidates. Gray, who was backed heavily by the national Democratic establishment, seemed like he had a good shot of winning against McGrath until right before the election, when he decided to go negative and try to label McGrath as a carpetbagger. Gray ran a television ad that in part said, “Now she’s running for Congress to represent the one place she’s never lived: here,” a narrator says. “In fact, she moved here from Maryland just last year to run for Congress. We honor Amy McGrath’s service, but shouldn’t she live here for a while before she tries to represent us?”

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This tactic by Gray was the lowest of the low. First off, Gray didn’t do his homework, as McGrath is a Kentucky native. She grew up in the northern Kentucky town of Edgewood. McGrath moved away from Kentucky to attend the University of Notre Dame and later the Naval Academy, graduating from both before joining the Marines. She served admirably for 20 years in the Marines and holds the high distinction of being the first female pilot to fly in an F/A-18 on a combat mission. During her time in the military, she made 89 bombing runs, hitting al-Qaida and Taliban targets.

Anyone who knows anything about military life knows that service members move around a lot. They are never in the same place for more than a few years. McGrath moved around a lot, but in her own words, “Kentucky has always been my home of record.” McGrath’s military moves don’t make her any less of a Kentuckian. So for Gray to try to paint an admirable patriot as a carpetbagger was just plain wrong and mean-spirited. It was also clearly a sign that his campaign was running scared.

In the final analysis, the negative attack ad may have cost Gray the race. It certainly didn’t help him, since he was defeated.

Bowling Green Daily News