FRANKFORT — Kentucky's race for governor heated up Monday as the state Republican Party ripped Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear for use of state aircraft and Beshear's re-election campaign aired two new TV ads touting his record on the economy.
The GOP ad notes that Beshear used a state plane to take his family to this year's NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Houston and used a state helicopter to get to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at the Kentucky Speedway race on July 9.
The Herald-Leader reported in May that Beshear used a state plane in April to take his family to Houston, but the state Democratic Party picked up the $6,105 tab for the flight.
Beshear's office has said the governor attended the Sprint Cup race as part of his official duties.
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The GOP also blamed Beshear for the traffic jams that marred the Sprint Cup race.
"Steve Beshear managed the NASCAR race like he manages the economy — leaving thousands of Kentuckians stuck with nowhere to go," the video says. "Steve Beshear: making Kentucky the worst-managed state in America. But at least he's having fun."
The state Transportation Cabinet has said the traffic problems were due to a bottleneck at I-71 exits caused by the track's poor parking plans.
Asked about the GOP video, Matt Erwin, a spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, said Beshear has cut more than $1 billion in spending, including taking a 10 percent pay cut and selling two state planes, while Beshear's challenger in the Nov. 8 general election, Republican Senate President David Williams, used taxpayer dollars to buy a $17,000 plasma screen TV for his Capitol Annex office, and his running mate, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, took an eight-day trip to the Caribbean with staffers at state expense.
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