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.
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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