Kentucky: Democratic Heavies Lead New Issue Group

Posted July 26, 2010 at 7:10pm

A group of business leaders has pledged to spend $2 million this election cycle to run issue ads on jobs and the economy in the Bluegrass State.

But the presence of a former Democratic candidate and a team of top-notch Democratic consultants guiding the new federal 527 organization, Kentucky Leadership, suggests the efforts of the group could result in some political pain for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and 2010 GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul.

“We want to make sure that the debate in Kentucky focuses on the important issues this fall,” said Andrew Horne, a lawyer and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who is heading the group.

Horne, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the House in 2006 and briefly ran for the Senate in 2008, has assembled a team of top Democratic strategists to make the TV and radio spots, produce the print ads and print the direct-mail pieces.

John Anzalone will be the group’s pollster; Amy Pritchard, a principal at Mission Control, will provide strategy and produce direct-mail pieces; GMMB and Mullen & Co. will produce TV ads and new media; and Zata|3 Consulting will handle direct voter contact services.

Organizers are downplaying any partisan lean. But Horne has already had a hand in attack ads on McConnell earlier this year through his role on the board of VoteVets.org.

Horne, who endorsed Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway in his primary win against Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, said the group is trying to move away from today’s polarized politics, noting as an example that candidates who support the state’s coal industry are automatically considered to be opponents of promoting green technologies — and vice versa.

“We think we’re being presented with false choices,” he said. “It’s either no government or a nanny state. … We’re going to address policies and what can be done to help the economy.”