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Republican candidates for Kentucky governor say presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway isn’t fit to serve because he would not fight a challenge to the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Conway refused to defend the ban last year, saying the law is discriminatory. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to defend the law.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republicans seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination, said not wanting to defend a law shouldn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the constitution or not. When you take that oath to uphold the constitution, you represent the people of Kentucky,” Comer said.

Louisville businessman and Republican frontrunner Hal Heiner said that Conway should have been required to defend the constitutional amendment.

Abbey Oldham

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made no mention of the unarmed black man killed by a white police officer during a campaign stop just miles from where the shooting happened.

Paul often says that U.S. criminal justice isn't equally applied, a statement he repeated at his rally Thursday. But since launching his White House bid Tuesday, the Kentucky senator has sidestepped questions about the high-profile South Carolina case.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager initially claimed he shot Scott in self-defense. Slager was later fired and charged with murder after a bystander's video showed him firing his weapon repeatedly as Scott fled.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford did not shy away from the case, telling Paul supporters it proves the senator is right about the importance of civil liberties.

In fact, Sen. Rand Paul's first days as a presidential candidate have not gone as planned.

The first-term Kentucky senator is no stranger to attention. But in opening his campaign, he betrayed a hot temperament that, by his own admission, needs some control.

After defensive and dodging press interviews about abortion, Iran and his shifting views on some issues, he's acknowledged he'll have to get better at holding his tongue and temper.

Paul skipped encounters with the media altogether after his rally in South Carolina on Thursday.

In his first 24 hours as a contender, Paul lectured an NBC reporter about how to ask a question and grew testy in an Associated Press interview when asked about abortion policy.

A research group that compiles political fundraising invitations from around the country found that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s fundraising efforts provide a snapshot into the junior senator’s campaign that is different from his rhetoric.

According to Political Party Time, an arm of the Sunlight Foundation, “Paul has thrown 26 get-togethers to benefit his own campaign coffers…. [and] of that tally, more than half have taken place in Washington, D.C.”

During his presidential run announcement on Tuesday, Paul portrayed his candidacy as an effort to change Washington from the outside. He criticized D.C. politics and said special interests hold too much power in the nation’s capitol.

“We have come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank, the special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare,” he told a large room of supporters in Louisville this week.

Paul assured the crowd his campaign would be different.

“Too often when Republicans have won, we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine,” he said. “That’s not who I am.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a newly declared Republican presidential candidate, is dodging a central question about abortion: What exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned?

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman's rights begin and those of the fetus end.

"The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast (on) one thing or the other," Paul said.

In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother's life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Paul told the AP that people get too tied up in these details and it's his conviction that "life is special and deserves protection."

Paul entered the GOP race Tuesday and is this week campaigning in the first four states to vote in the nomination contest.

Exceptions in any abortion ban are a politically sensitive topic for Paul and some of his rivals. They want to nudge the party away from a focus on such social issues, but know that winning the nomination requires some backing from religious conservatives who press for strict, if not absolute limits on abortion.

In Iowa, where Paul will campaign Friday, Rev. Terry Amann of Walnut Creek Community Church near Des Moines said he saw no place for equivocation on the issue.

Kentucky LRC

With a little more than a month to go before Kentucky’s primary, gubernatorial candidates are rolling out the attacks and ramping the rhetoric.

This week, a super PAC tied to Republican front runner Hal Heiner released television commercials accusing opposing candidates of not being conservative enough because they take handouts from the government.

One commercial claimed that Agriculture Commissioner James Comer advocated against government funded farm subsidies, but receives $87,000 in subsidies for his own farms.

At a debate Wednesday, Comer fired back, accusing Heiner of being hypocritical by not denouncing the ad.

“What he didn’t mention in the ad is that even though he has a very small farm, he has received farm subsidies, in fact he’s received significantly more farm subsidies than I have per acre,” Comer said.

The ad was sponsored by Citizens for a Sound Government, which the Courier-Journal reports, supports Heiner and will spend about $640,000 on TV ads over the next two weeks.

During the Louisville Forum debate, Heiner refused to renounce the ads and denied any connection with them.

“Well Jamie, those are not my ads. I want to be judged in this campaign by what I say. I want to be judged by what the Heiner-Crosby campaign, the policy ideas and those ideas that we put out across Kentucky as we’ve traveled over the last 57 months,” Heiner said.

Gov. Steve Beshear has vetoed part of a bill that appropriates money from the state’s settlement with tobacco companies.

The bill had set aside money to fill an estimated $26.6 million shortfall to fund agriculture, lung cancer research and early childhood programs.

The governor deleted the line that would have appropriated $26.6 million, saying that the shortfall has grown to $37 million.

“Taking this action now provides a solution to this late-breaking problem and avoids budget cuts to the very same programs for which the General Assembly, in this bill, provides additional funding for next year,” Beshear said in his veto statement.

The bill restores funds to several programs that are funded by a multi-state, multi-million dollar settlement stemming from a 1998 lawsuit against tobacco companies. Additional money for the programs comes from a smaller settlement Attorney General Jack Conway secured from tobacco companies last year.

Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky lieutenant governor candidate Sannie Overly is scheduled to give a deposition this month in a sexual harassment case against a former lawmaker and is asking that her testimony be sealed.

The Democratic state representative from Paris is scheduled to be deposed April 13 by attorney Thomas Clay. Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to consider sealing the deposition.

Clay told the Lexington Herald-Leader he wants to ask Overly about any sexual harassment she might have experienced in the legislature.

Clay represents two women who have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis. Arnold has denied any wrongdoing.

Overly did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

She is the running mate of Jack Conway, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in May's primary.

Welcome to the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican Rand Paul officially entered the race Tuesday, and was greeted with a TV ad calling him "wrong and dangerous" on Iran. The money behind the ad is secret.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House Tuesday on his website. The 52-year-old former ophthalmologist's libertarian roots sets him apart from the expansive field of Republican hopefuls, most notably in foreign policy and issues like defense spending.

His father Ron Paul, also a physician, gained notoriety in the late-1980s as a presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, but there are signs the younger Paul is moving more mainstream Republican.

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