Bevin, Comer, Heiner tangle over negative campaigning in Republi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin, Comer, Heiner tangle over negative campaigning in Republican primary race

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The gloves have come off in the Republican campaign for Kentucky governor. With the primary less than a month away, the attacks have intensified.

The four candidates were in Louisville Thursday for a debate at the Rotary Club, but behind the smiles is a fierce fight for every vote.

It was a largely civil debate, with the four candidates agreeing on most issues, but behind the curtain, Bevin, Comer and Heiner are throwing elbows.

The Heiner campaign has released audio of a telephone survey, a so-called push poll, conducted by Bevin. The poll asks a series of questions about Heiner's record on Louisville's Metro Council and asks whether they would make the voter more or less likely to support him.

Heiner calls the poll a smear campaign and Bevin a hypocrite.

"At the same time he's decrying attacks, he's actually on the attack," said Heiner.

"It sounds like he's whining," Bevin responded.

Bevin claims not to have heard the poll questions, but denies the survey amounts to negative campaigning.

"So his concern is that people are talking about his vote? And he wants to be the next governor of Kentucky? But he doesn't want to be held to account for his votes in the past? That's what he's complaining about? You talk about hypocrisy," said Bevin.

Meantime, James Comer has launched a new website called "What's Hal Hiding" that tries to raise questions about Heiner's trustworthiness.

"It's pointing out the facts. If he disputes anything in there, let's have a conversation about it," said Comer.

Comer says he's just defending himself against negative ads being run by a pro-Heiner Super PAC.

Both he and Bevin imply that Heiner is coordinating with the PAC, which would be illegal.

"I'm very disappointed in the way Hal Heiner has run his campaign. And I think you can tell a lot about a governor by how they run their campaign," said Comer.

Heiner continues to deny any involvement with the PAC.

"We have absolutely no connection with outside groups. None," he said.

With little money for advertising, Will T. Scott is staying out of the fray.

But as nasty as the rhetoric has become, all promise to support whomever wins and faces the likely Democrat, Attorney General Jack Conway.

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