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Bluegrass Battles

In Today's Ad Spotlight:

Mitch McConnell For Senate: "Only Two -- Bowling Green",   Mitch McConnell For Senate: "Only Two -- Hopkinsville",   Mitch McConnell For Senate: "Only Two -- Paducah",   Mitch McConnell For Senate: "Only Two -- Owensboro"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to wage an aggressive re-election campaign, and the Kentucky Republican is keeping his word so far. Although he's polling far ahead of his potential Democratic challengers, McConnell continued his ad releases last month with four spots tailored to specific regions in the state, again reminding voters of what he has done for them. The quartet of ads begin similarly to McConnell's inaugural ad launch, referencing former Democratic Senate leader and vice president Alben Barkley. In the Bowling Green spot, McConnell talks about his tobacco buyout plan and the funding he secured for Western Kentucky University. McConnell highlights his support for military funding and programs in the Hopkinsville spot; the Owensboro ad showcases riverfront development; and the Paducah version explains that McConnell has earmarked funds for economic development in the environmental and health care sectors.


The Bluegrass State race has received plenty of attention already. Two third-party groups launched early attack ads against McConnell, slamming him for ties to lobbyists and his support for the Iraq war. The state's primary will be held May 20, but filing for the race ended Jan. 29 with no substantive challengers to McConnell from within his own party. A slew of Democratic candidates have entered the race, most notably Louisville businessman Greg Fischer and 2007 gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford. Still, McConnell continues to focus on reminding voters what he can do for Kentucky as the Senate's No. 2, not his challengers.

But certain constituents aren't happy with some of McConnell's past ads employing that same strategy. As part of his December ad launch, McConnell premiered an ad titled "Cures," which featured two University of Louisville doctors praising research grants McConnell secured for the medical center. Last week, both doctors told the Louisville Courier-Journal that they only thought their comments would be used on the senator's Web site, and university policy generally does not allow employees to use their affiliation when making political endorsements.

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