October 30, 2018 Blog, Press Release

Barr Campaigns with Paul Ryan Despite Inflammatory and Racially Charged Ads from Ryan Super PAC

This week, Congressman Andy Barr will campaign with House Speaker Paul Ryan whose political action committee, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), is responsible for some of the most negative, inflammatory, and racially charged political ads of the 2018 campaign cycle.

“At Paul Ryan’s direction, CLF has run a barrage of negative ads that are offensive and intended to scare Americans in a way that incites the worst behavior. The voters of Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District are sick and tired of Paul Ryan’s disgusting ads against Amy McGrath, which is why they won’t publicly release the details of the event or allow the public to attend,” said Marisa McNee, spokesperson for the Kentucky Democratic Party. “It is shameful that Andy Barr would welcome him to Kentucky, but it’s absolute cowardice to invite him here and then hide from the voters in the District.”

The CLF ads have consistently focused on racist imagery and language and received widespread criticism. Two of CLF’s ads were featured in a New York Times story on October 22, 2018, highlighting “The Most Inflammatory Ads of The Midterms.” The portfolio of ads for CLF in the 2018 cycle is so controversial it has drawn rebuke from long-time political commentator, Joel McNally, in Paul Ryan’s home district. McNally described the ads as “some of the most dishonest, hate-filled, racist attack ads in their party’s shameful history.”

In an August ad against Amy McGrath, CLF featured a former staffer for Mitch McConnell, Hannah Thornton, who once tweeted she “hated Mexicans” and used the n-word. Despite that revelation, CLF still has the ad on their YouTube page and website. Ms. Thornton also appeared in Mr. Barr’s first political ad.

Last week when the nation’s top law enforcement officers were dealing with bomb threats targeted at prominent Democrats and racially-motivated killings in Louisville, CLF released an ad in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District using racially-charged imagery of protests that described Amy McGrath as part of a “liberal mob.”

Andy Barr and the Republican Party of Kentucky refused to call for the ad to be taken down or rebuke the message and imagery. In a recent debate between Barr and McGrath, Barr said he stood by the ads from CLF.