Republican Governors-backed group ties Andy Beshear to Joe Biden in latest attack ad

Kentucky Values, a political committee backed by the Republican Governors Association, has launched a new ad ahead of the state’s gubernatorial election bashing incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for being “just like Joe Biden.”

“On the things that really matter, Andy Beshear is just like Joe Biden,” a female narrator intones as the ad begins.

Beshear faces Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is challenging him for re-election.

The ad, which doesn’t mention Cameron, touches on crime, jobs and transgender issues.

“With crime soaring in Kentucky, Beshear and Biden coddle criminals,” the narrator claims.

On screen, text displays a troubling statistic: That murder is up under Beshear by 31%. The citation references a Lexington Herald-Leader article from July 25, 2023 and a Fox 56 story from October 2021.

Southeast Politics couldn’t find a story matching the date provided for the Fox 56 story, but the Lexington Herald-Leader article has been referenced before in ads by the same group.

That article centers on a discrepancy in crime data. Beshear pushed one set of data touting a 33.4% drop in crime, but that data undercounted homicides in Jefferson County by 100. But, even with the adjusted numbers, the drop in homicides would be 17.9%, still a reduction.

A Fox 56 article from December of 2021, two months after the date cited in the ad, does point to an increase in homicides that year in Lexington over the 2020 numbers. 

The ad then pivots to the economy, noting that “Biden destroys the economy.” An on-screen citation references a Washington Free Beacon article from May about an April poll that found 6 in 10 small business owners “are concerned that President Joe Biden’s inflationary economy could force them to close their doors.” The referenced poll was conducted by pollsters John McLaughlin and Scott Rasmussen. 

The poll found that 59% of small business owner respondents were worried economic conditions could force them to close, with numbers higher in the eastern and western U.S. and among women- and minority-owned businesses. The Washington Free Beacon write-up of the poll does not mention that it also found respondents reporting positive conditions as it relates to the business, the U.S. economy and the overall small business climate. 

Nevertheless, the ad then pivots to Beshear again, noting that he “destroys Kentucky jobs” and that there are “fewer Kentuckians working” now than when he took office. 

This also has been referenced in previous ads by the same group. The group cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that uses the number of individual Kentuckians working, without duplicating numbers for those who hold more than one job. A previous ad bashed Beshear for touting a different data set that duplicated numbers for those with more than one job. Under the data Kentucky Values cites, fewer Kentucky residents are employed than when Beshear took office in 2019.

A spokesperson for Beshear at the time explained that the campaign used the figure including people with more than one job because “staff in the Office of the State Budget Director believe that is the most accurate survey, and they have used this survey for decades to track employment.”

Another common beef among the Republican-backed Kentucky Values, the ad references transgender surgery on minors, calling it “Biden’s radical transgender agenda.” The narrator goes on to say that Beshear is “lying about it.”

That claim references a May 3 letter from University of Kentucky HealthCare’s Transform Clinic to state Rep. James Tipton who, based on the narrative within the letter, requested the information.

The letter explicitly states that “Transform Health does not perform genital gender reassignment surgery on minors,” noting that such surgeries “are not considered best practice in the United States and are performed in this country very rarely.”

Still, conservatives who oppose gender-affirming care for minors have used the next portion of that letter against Democrats who oppose anti-trans legislation.

“Transform Health has, in recent years, performed a small number of non-genital gender reassignment surgeries,” the letter reads, offering “mastectomies for older adolescents” as an example. But it notes that such “top surgeries” are “performed only after careful medical evaluation, discussion and the consent of patients/guardians.”

The ad concludes by reiterating “the things that really matter” — “Safety. Jobs. And kids.”

“Andy Beshear is just like Joe Biden when it comes to the things that really matter for Kentuckians,” RGA National Press Secretary Courtney Alexander said. “Whether it’s rising crime, a failing economy, or a radical transgender agenda, the fact is Kentuckians are worse off under Beshear and Biden. Beshear and Biden are one and the same.”


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