Monday, May 19, 2008
by Joseph Gerth
Bruce Lunsford started running a television ad last week that, among other things, accused fellow Democrat Greg Fischer and his family of contributing "thousands of dollars to Republicans like George Bush and Mitch McConnell."
That part of the ad is factual — but it doesn't make it truthful.
Lunsford was trying to deflect attention away from the fact that he dropped out of the 2003 governor's race and then endorsed Republican Ernie Fletcher, by focusing on what he considers to be his opponent's foibles, minor as they are.
But he misses the mark.
Fischer has only given $850 to Republicans — the last contribution nearly a decade ago. And he didn't give any money to Bush or McConnell.
What the ad is referring to is Fischer's brother, Mark Fischer, who contributed $500 to Bush, and their father, George Fischer, who gave Bush $1,000 in 1999. And, Lynn Fischer, Greg Fischer's sister, gave McConnell $250 in 1996.
In all, four members of the Fischer family have contributed $5,050 to Republicans since 1995.
Contrast that with Lunsford's giving record and the claim in the ad looks even more outrageous.
Records provided by Lunsford's campaign show that he has given more than $57,000 to Republicans over the years — including $8,600 since he first ran for governor as a Democrat in 2003.
Lunsford gave nearly twice as much to Republican Anne Northup as he did to Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth in their 2006 race. Over the years, he's also contributed $2,000 to Bush, $2,700 to McConnell and $5,000 to the Bluegrass Committee, McConnell's political action committee.
Lunsford's campaign points out that he has given $131,000 to Democrats over the years.
But if you look closely, you'll see that he has only recently given large amounts to Democratic causes. In fact, according to Lunsford's own database, before starting his political career in 2003, Lunsford had actually contributed 25 percent more to Republicans than to Democrats.
Since July 2003, Lunsford has contributed nearly $92,000 to Democrats — not counting more than $16 million he has spent on his own races.
But what is especially troubling is that some voters are buying the mischaracterizations in Lunsford's ad. A cattle farmer from Anderson County told me Saturday that he was voting for Lunsford despite the fact that Lunsford had backed Fletcher in 2003.
Lunsford's support of Fletcher was troubling, he said, before adding, "But I heard the other guy gave thousands of dollars to Republicans, too.