Editor’s Note: This story has been updated on Monday, March 13, with a response from Craft’s campaign.
Former Ambassador Kelly Craft, who is married to Alliance Coal CEO Joe Craft, is on the attack against Daniel Cameron, the front runner in the Republican primary for governor, over a West Virginia coal plant.
In a statewide television ad released to media on Friday, Craft is attempting to tie Cameron to “Joe Biden’s radical environmental agenda (that) is closing coal-fired power plants.”
“Kentucky’s energy industry is one of our strategic advantages as we fight for the jobs of the future,” Craft said in a statement. “Low-cost electricity generation employs thousands of people, powers millions of homes, and generates billions in economic activity. It’s despicable that when Governor Beshear and Daniel Cameron had the opportunity in 2021 to prevent the early closure of the Mitchell power plant that serves Eastern Kentucky, they failed to do so.”
The ad is “backed by a six-figure” statewide ad rollout, according to Craft’s campaign.
Cameron’s campaign ridiculed Craft for the ad, saying the plant in question is in Moundsville, West Virginia.
“Is Kelly Craft running for Governor of West Virginia? The coal plant she’s referring to in her flailing attack is a West Virginia plant. It provides no economic value to the Commonwealth, it appears none of the plant’s workers live in Kentucky, and it contributes no tax revenue to Kentucky communities”, said Cameron Strategist Brandon Moody. “Moreover, utility rates would go up under Craft’s plan to have Kentuckians pay for the plant’s improvements. Kelly is free to hop on her fancy private jet (paid for by coal mining profits) and run for Governor of Oklahoma or West Virginia if she wishes. But if you’re going to advocate for Kentucky you might want to, oh I don’t know, advocate for Kentucky jobs and Kentucky ratepayers over those in West Virginia.
“We expect more of these lies to come since Kelly’s $2 million and counting from her and her attack PAC has produced zero results for her campaign,” Moody continued. “She’s only going to grow more desperate.”
Craft’s campaign spokesperson Weston Loyd responded to Cameron’s campaign on Monday, with a counter punch aimed at Cameron’s knowledge of Kentucky’s power infrastructure.
“Daniel Cameron must have no idea where Kentucky power comes from. He says the Mitchell plant has ‘little to no economic value’ to the Commonwealth, when in fact Kentucky Power owns a 50% stake in the plant that services 165,000 Kentucky residents across 20 counties,” Loyd said in a statement. “It also provided power in December 2022 during a critical time of need at a fraction of the cost of natural gas generation.
“Clearly, Daniel does not understand how fragile our energy system in Kentucky is,” Loyd continued. “Instead of championing reliable and affordable energy for Kentucky, Daniel, because of his lack of knowledge on energy, is siding with Joe Biden, Andy Beshear, and the Sierra Club’s radical environmental agenda which is resulting in the premature closure of the Mitchell plant and many other coal plants in Kentucky. His misguided decisions will result in Kentucky residents’ already high utility bills skyrocketing.”
There are a dozen Republicans running for governor in the May 16 primary with Cameron holding a substantial lead in the only public polling of the race.