Keep It Clean

By Richard Nelson

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May 13, 2015

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Wouldn't it be nice if we could have just one political race that didn't turn ugly? Unfortunately, the race for the Republican nomination for governor in Kentucky is not going to be that race. In an editorial piece on CNN's website titled “Koch Money Fuels Personal Politics in Kentucky,” writer Theodore Schleifer calls this year's battle for the GOP nod “the nastiest race of 2015.” Avalanches of outside dollars from outside super PACS and political nonprofits have played a huge role in the race thus far, since donors in Kentucky can only give $1,000 directly to a campaign. Instead of these dollars being used to foster a civil tone, however, they have largely been funneled into attack ads. All three major candidates – James Comer, Hal Heiner, and Matt Bevin – have seen their campaigns assaulted, and it doesn't appear things are going to ease up anytime between now and the Primary Election May 19. It is a shame that when candidate are blessed with thousands of dollars they choose not to tell voters why they are the best choice, but choose rather to focus on belittling their opponents. We see this attitude reflected when many of these candidates are elected to office, as they continue to go after any who would oppose them. Due to human nature, disagreements are going to occur, but our politicians – be they elected or still running for office – need to work harder on abolishing this culture of bitterness and focus less on how they can damage their opponents.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center