A lawyer for U.S. Representative Ben Chandler's re-election campaign contends that a coal executive featured in at least three political ads has become a public figure, which negates claims he has been slandered. Louisville attorney John McGarvey responded by letter to a claim that the Chandler campaign had slandered River View Coal Vice President Heath Lovell. Chandler, a Democrat, is opposed in the Sixth District race by Republican Andy Barr.
Lovell had threatened to file a slander suit against Chandler over one of the ads running on TV stations in Lexington. The AP reports that an attorney for Lovell sent a letter to Chandler Monday, demanding that the ad be taken off the air. The Chandler campaign has accused Lovell of not being a real coal miner, but Lovell's attorneys have sent documentation to Chandler, verifying that he is a certified coal miner. Lovell's certification paperwork even appears in a new Andy Barr commercial.
Coal issues have been important in the matchup in the 6th Congressional District race this year, even though most of the state's mines are located in the more mountainous Appalachian region.