Grayson airs TV ad attacking Rand Paul on coal
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Trey Grayson paints himself as pro-coal and pegs the perceived frontrunner in the U.S. Senate race as unfriendly to the mining industry in a political ad airing in the mining region of eastern Kentucky.
The ad shows footage of a speech Republican Senate hopeful Rand Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, gave to a group in Tennessee in 2008.
“Coal’s a very dirty form of energy,” Paul said in the speech. “You may have coal around here that needs to be mined, but I mean the thing is that it’s probably one of the least favorable forms of energy.”
The ad is running on WYMT-TV in Hazard and on cable television throughout southeastern Kentucky’s heavily Republican 5th congressional district, where mining is a key driver of the economy.
“That ad should cause great difficulty not only in the 5th district, but anywhere you have significant coal interests,” said University of Kentucky political scientist Donald Gross. “This is a real problem for Paul.”
Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson claimed Monday that Paul’s comments about coal illustrates a pattern of saying one thing to Kentucky voters and another to out-of-state financial donors. Paul made the statement while campaigning in Chattanooga for his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, during his unsuccessful presidential bid two years ago.
Grayson said in a statement that tens of thousands of Kentucky jobs depend on coal.
“Whether I’m in eastern Kentucky, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere you can always count on me to fight for Kentucky’s priorities, including coal,” he said. “I know that coal must be a part of any realistic solution to reducing our dependence on foreign energy and to supplying clean, abundant, domestic energy resources to fuel our economic recovery.”
Paul campaign manager David Adams didn’t dispute the past comments, but said Paul isn’t anti-coal.
“Rand Paul supports using what coal we have here until a better energy source comes along,” Adams said. “That may be several decades, which is plenty of time for Trey Grayson to make up more nonsense to try to get his failing political career back on track.”
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