The Republican Governors Association’s (RGA) affiliated PAC, Kentucky Values, is out with a new ad painting incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear as a lying politician who fudges details on gender reassignment surgeries for minors, jobs and crime.
The 30-second ad, one of many the RGA has backed in Kentucky and Louisiana where Republicans are trying to claim the top executive post from Democrats, builds on a previous ad that emphasized contradictory statements on gender reassignment surgeries for minors.
“We already know Andy Beshear is lying about sex change surgery for kids,” a narrator begins. “But what else is he lying about?”
The ad then goes on to claim Beshear’s claim of record job growth is also a lie.
“Fewer Kentuckians are working today than when Beshear started. And nearly a million Kentuckians are living in poverty,” the narrator continues.
The ad then pivots to crime, claiming Beshear “pushed false reports omitting 100 murders in Louisville alone.”
It ends by tying Beshear to what has become akin to the Boogeyman for Republicans, President Joe Biden.
“Career politicians like Beshear and Biden lie for a livin’, but Kentucky knows the truth,” the narrator concludes.
That truth may, to some, be subjective.
On the abortion claim, a Kentucky Values ad aired earlier this month centers on what the group describes as a “radical agenda” that allows “young children to undergo permanent gender-changing surgery.”
The ad cites 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’s claim about jobs references a Washington Free Beacon article from June, which uses a different data set to make its point. There, the author points to a Louisville Courier Journal fact check of Beshear’s claim of record job growth and notes the data used from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes people who work two or three jobs who are double or triple counted in the data set.
It goes on to point out a different Labor Bureau data set that uses the number of individual Kentuckians working, without duplicating numbers for those who hold more than one job. That shows fewer employed Kentucky residents than when Beshear took office in 2019.
But the fact check notes the numbers are preliminary and may change in the future. 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.”
It’s worth noting that the Washington Free Beacon is a conservative alternative media site funded by billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist Paul Singer.
The ad’s final claim, that Beshear exaggerated the state’s drop in homicides, cites a Lexington Herald-Leader article from July. It says the data used in Beshear’s claim, produced by Kentucky State Police, undercounted homicides in Jefferson County by 100, according to data from the Louisville Metro Police Department, though even with an adjusted number, homicides in that county were still down.
And statewide, the adjusted drop in homicides would be 17.9%, not 33.4%.
At the time, Louisville Metro Police told the Leader they were working with the state to resolve “possible discrepancies.”
While the ad lacks background and context for the claims — things that don’t fit into 30-second spots — the RGA hopes voters will see Beshear’s talking points as deceptive.
“Whether it’s lying about sex change surgeries for children happening in Kentucky, misrepresenting job growth when nearly one million Kentuckians are living in poverty, or pushing false reports omitting 100 murders in Louisville alone, the simple truth is that Andy Beshear has been blatantly dishonest with Kentucky,” said Courtney Alexander, RGA National Press Secretary.
“The only thing that seems to be the truth is that Andy Beshear has proven he’s just another career politician.”
Beshear is running for re-election against Republican Daniel Cameron, the state’s elected Attorney General. The General Election is Nov. 7.