Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fact-checking statements in debate: Conway can't back up his Road Fund claim

By Anthony Pendleton
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

As the candidates for governor covered numerous topics in an hour-long debate Tuesday night, some questionable statements were presented as facts. Here are a list of statements those that have been fact-checked.

Democrat Jack Conway claimed Republican Matt Bevin said the Road Fund should “go to zero.” We could find no evidence that Bevin said this. The Conway campaign cited several Bevin statements about infrastructure but none of them had the "zero" element or mentioned the Road Fund. The closest was a remark during last year's Senate race, when Bevin said the time for government involvement in public works projects had ended, apparently meaning the federal government.

When Herald-Leader political writer Sam Youngman asked Bevin about his change in position on the Medicaid expansion – from ending it immediately to how he would tweak the program, Conway replied as if Bevin had not changed his position, calling Bevin “callous” and acting as if he still wants to end the expansion.

When Conway said Bevin's plan to put all new state pension plan members into 401(k) accounts wouldn't work for teachers because they don't participate in Social Security, Bevin said "We can change that." But that would require the state to match teachers' payroll deductions for Social Security.

Conway said he’s “been supported by the NRA in the past.” Bevin said Conway has a “C” rating with the NRA. According to RealClearPolitics, Conway received an “A” rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund in 2011 for his attorney general re-election campaign. According to VoteSmart.org, the NRA gave Conway a 43 percent rating in 2015. UPDATE: The State Journal of Frankfort confirmed that Conway has a C rating.

Bevin said his running mate, Jenean Hampton of Bowling Green, is the first African-American woman “to ever run for governor or lieutenant governor.” In 1999, Naliah Jumoke-Yarbrough of Louisville was the gubernatorial nominee of the Natural Law Party.

Bevin said coal “powers 90 percent of the electricity in this room,” but then said “38 percent of the electricity in this state” comes from coal. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 92 percent of Kentucky’s net-electrical generation came from coal in 2014. The EIA says 39 percent of the nation’s electricity was coal-generated in 2014.

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