It has been a rocky road in Kentucky's Democratic Senate Primary. First, we kept losing candidates as the establishment lined it up for Bruce Lunsford. I actually lost interest in the race knowing I would vote my straight ticket in the fall. Now it seems we will be able to mount a successful Progressive challenge after all. That is because Greg Fischer has stepped to the plate and is charging to the finish. This race is heating up and has begun to tighten.
In exchanges yesterday and today, these campaigns kept slugging it out. First, Bruce Lunsford released this:
LOUISVILLE - In a stunning display of hypocrisy, U.S. Senate candidate Greg Fischer touted his record as "an open book," yet he failed to file his Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) report with the Senate Ethics Committee until 11 days after the deadline.
Fischer has repeatedly attacked fellow Democrat Bruce Lunsford for his management of Vencor and spread false information about Lunsford's business record. Yet, when Fischer finally filed his PFD, it revealed he has investments in five different publicly traded funds which invest in either Ventas or Kindred - both corporate descendants of Vencor.
"Greg Fischer has gone against the will of Kentucky's voters and Democratic leaders by taking a page out of Mitch McConnell's playbook, slinging mud at his fellow Democrat Bruce Lunsford rather than focusing on what he would do as Senator to improve the lives of Kentucky families," Lunsford spokesperson Allison Haley said. "The fact that all the while, Fischer has investments in the very companies he claims Bruce ran into the ground makes Fischer's actions the ultimate hypocrisy."
Senate ethics rules require all candidates in the Kentucky Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate to submit their PFD form to the Senate Ethic Committee 30 days before the election. Greg Fischer didn't even sign his form until more than a week after the deadline and then took an additional three days to send it in.
Examination of Fischer's PFD shows his investment portfolio includes public funds that have a combined total investment of over $26 million in Ventas and Kindred.
"If I were Greg Fischer, I wouldn't want the public to know I had been investing in the same companies I was openly criticizing either. Maybe that's why he waited so long to file his PFD.," Haley said. "What else is he hiding?"
LOUISVILLE, May 6, 2008 - Kim Geveden, Political Director for Greg Fischer's U.S. Senate campaign blasted Lunsford's Swift-Boat-Style attack yesterday saying. "Bruce Lunsford's latest negative attack against Greg Fischer is as false as it its ridiculous and desperate. It looks like it could have been authored by Mitch McConnell.
"You know Lunsford is desperate when he reverts to his true Republican roots and takes a page from his 2003 playbook in which he spent $8 million falsely attacking Ben Chandler, only to quit, desert our Democratic Party, stand with Mitch McConnell and publicly endorse Ernie Fletcher," Geveden said.
"Confronted with independent poll results showing Fischer gaining rapidly, Bruce Lunsford has abandoned his much touted "Integrity Pledge" and is once again falsely attacking an honorable Democrat in Greg Fischer, while desperately trying to stop the political hemorrhaging that threatens his ego and quest for the Democratic nomination."
The campaign added this "fact sheet" to counter Lunsford's claims:
Lunsford's False Claim:
"Fischer has investments in the very companies (Ventas and Kindred Healthcare) he claims Bruce ran into the ground."
Fischer has no direct or indirect investment in Vencor, the company that Bruce Lunsford ran into the ground and bankrupted. Lunsford's mismanagement of Vencor in the period leading up to its bankruptcy is well-documented and includes charges of patient abuse and falsely billing the federal government.
Ventas and Kindred have absolutely nothing to do with Bruce Lunsford's mismanagement of Vencor. Bruce Lunsford has absolutely no managing control over either Ventas or Kindred. Lunsford's is attempting to use Kindred and Ventas as a smoke-screen to hide his appalling behavior as CEO of Vencor.
Fischer holds no direct investment in Ventas or Kindred - The truth is, Fischer owns shares in two mutual investment funds - iShares Russell 1000 Growth Fund and iShares Russell 2000 Value Fund. Ventas and Kindred make up an extremely small fraction of the holdings of the two funds.
Fischer owns 5,500 shares of iShares Russell 1000 Growth Fund. At market close yesterday, the Ventas portion of Fischer's investment in the fund was valued at $289.18.
Fischer owns 1,300 shares of iShares Russell 2000 Value Fund. At market close yesterday, the Kindred portion of Fischer's investment in the fund was valued at $113.47
All this comes at the same time a new SurveyUsa poll is released which shows Fischer creep steadily up the polls as time runs quickly away:
Two Weeks Out, Lunsford Still Well in Front in KY Dem Senate Primary: In a Democratic Primary for United States Senator from Kentucky today, 05/06/08, 2 weeks until the primary, Bruce Lunsford defeats Greg Fischer, 41% to 22%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WHAS-TV Louisville and WCPO-TV Cincinnati. Five other candidates are in single digits. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released one week ago, Fischer is up 4, Lunsford is down 2. Among men, three weeks ago, Lunsford led by 40 points; one week ago, by 21; today, by 20. Among women, Lunsford led by 35, by 27, and now by 19. Among voters 50+, Lunsford led by 44, by 21, and now by 14. The winner of the 05/20/08 closed Democratic Primary advances to face incumbent Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, who is running for his 5th term.
The Political Director of Fischer's campaign had this to say about the new numbers, showing a steady rise for Fischer:
The polling trends clearly shows that Bruce Lunsford is a fatally flawed candidate," said Kim Geveden, political director for the Fischer campaign. Matt Stoller, a nationally prominent political commentator who regularly appears on CNN and other national news broadcasts, has described Lunsford as, "...definitely the worst Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the country."
She then went on to explain this sentiment which is shared by many Kentuckians including myself:
"Kentucky Democrats are starting to focus on this race. They're learning more about Greg Fischer. And they're remembering Lunsford's defection to the Republican party in 2003 and his support of Republican Ernie Fletcher for governor." said Geveden. "The conclusion they're coming to is the obvious one: Greg Fischer is the best Democratic candidate in this race and he'll give Mitch McConnell more than he's bargained for in the general election this fall."
Now, Fischer's rise in this race has given me hope that we can actually run a candidate I can be proud of, a candidate that hasn't been fighting against me through all these long years we have been losing here. A candidate that is Progressive, and won't turn on us if he gets mad.
Greg Fischer believes in our kind of Change:
He tells a truth Kentuckians can believe in:
Please help us avoid risking our support to elect another DINO into the United States Senate. Greg Fischer can still win this race!! All the momentum is his, and he still has time. Two weeks can be an eternity in politics!! Please help us and support Greg here: