Beshear, Fletcher begin airing political ads

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The first television ads of the fall gubernatorial campaign are beginning this week.

Democratic candidate Steve Beshear was the first to hit the airwaves with an ad that began airing Monday morning. Gov. Ernie Fletcher is expected to air his ad on Tuesday.

“People are desperate for leaders, real leaders who can bring us together to make Kentucky better,” Beshear says in his ad.

Fletcher’s ad will be the first in a series that will highlight his recent tour of casino communities across the country and show the ugly side of gambling, campaign spokesman Jason Keller said.

“What I saw was not very pretty,” Fletcher said about his tour of casino communities. “I learned a great deal about the financial and social costs of casinos and it is important to show Kentuckians firsthand what harmful effects casinos would have on Kentucky.”

Fletcher is trying to make casino gambling a key issue in the race. He has taken a strong stand against expanding gambling beyond Kentucky’s horse racing tracks. Beshear favors a proposal for a referendum to allow voters to decide whether to change the state Constitution to allow casinos.

Fletcher said he intends for the ads to show that legalizing casinos in Kentucky is a bad idea because of “how destructive they are to our way of life.”

Keller said the ads will air on network television in Bowling Green, Hazard, Lexington, Louisville and Paducah and on cable stations across the state.

Beshear’s ad is airing in Louisville and other cities across the state, campaign spokeswoman Vicki Glass said.