Oct 31, 2011- Ky. Governor's Debate Tonight

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

The candidates in Kentucky's governor's race square off tonight in the last televised debate before Election Day.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WSAZ) – Gov. Steve Beshear (D) faced a barrage of attacks Monday night from his opponents in the race to be Kentucky’s governor.

The attacks came as the candidates faced off in the final televised debate before Election Day.


Beshear is hoping for a second term.


Republican state Senate President David Williams and Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith (I) are challenging him.


The debate was one of the final opportunities for Williams and Galbraith to try to overcome Beshear’s significant lead in polls and fund raising.


Beshear's opponents didn't waste much time before going after him. Attacks were launched within the first two minutes of the debate.


Williams has been fighting the perception that he’s difficult to work with and has a reputation of being a bully. He says those characterizations are distortions by political opponents.


During the debate, he tried to link Beshear directly to the economic challenges Kentucky's faced in the last four years.


Beshear found himself on defense for most of the debate.


"One of the last things I wanted to do was furlough state employees but we did because we were faced with a very difficult decision," says Beshear.


The incumbent came to power as the nation went into an economic meltdown, creating unique challenges for state governments across the nation.


But, Beshear’s opponents say he should have done more to handle the crisis.


Williams says Kentucky's losing people to neighboring Tennessee.


“People have moved there by the tens and hundreds of thousands over the last decade, while they have changed their tax structure, have right to work," says Williams.


Galbraith says gridlock between the two parties is the problem.


"And the independent is the only one that can bring (tax reform) because I think the audience can see just how far away these two sides, the partisanship between the Democrats and the Republicans are," says Galbraith.


During his term, Beshear's cut $1 billion from Kentucky's budget.


Even as he touts the effort he made to spare K-12 education and offer economic incentives, the commonwealth’s unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent.


“Take Eastern Kentucky: Pikeville, Laurel County, Morehead, Letcher County. We're going into all of these counties and we're having some success," says Beshear.


Williams countered, “Governor Beshear is the only person in this state who says everything is all right. He says there doesn't need to be any change to the pension system, which is going to bankrupt this state."


Galbraith said the tone of the debate was indicative of the problems preventing lawmakers from achieving more.


He described the debate as featuring “exactly the kinds of blaming, exactly the kinds of dysfunctionality that has existed in Frankfort for the last several decades."


Williams says he wants to do away with personal and business income taxes and create some kind of “consumption tax.”


Beshear argues it would take a 14 percent sales tax to make up for lost money in that plan.


Recent polls have shown Beshear with a 30-point lead over Williams and a 50-point advantage over Galbraith.


Voters head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8.


The three men, all attorneys, vying to be Kentucky's governor will face off tonight in the second of two televised debates.

Gov. Steve Beshear (D) holds a commanding lead in the polls and in fund raising in the final days of the campaign. He's being challenged by State Senate President David Williams (R) and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

Kentucky voters head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8.

We'll have highlights from the 90-minute debate tonight on MyZ and WSAZ at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., respectively.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is taking on two challengers in a Monday night debate that will be aired statewide on the public television station KET.    

The 90-minute faceoff, which begins at 8 p.m. EDT, will give Republican David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith a second and final opportunity to share a stage with Beshear before the Nov. 8 election.     

Polls show Beshear leading his opponents by more than 30 percentage points in his bid for re-election to a second term.     

Besides his lead in the polls, Beshear also holds a huge fundraising advantage. He has banked more than $10 million beginning his re-election campaign, at least five times more than Williams, his nearest competitor.     

The race has generated little excitement. Election officials say turnout could be as low as 25 percent.

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