A new ad from Rep. Andy Barr (R., Ky.) criticizes his Democratic challenger, trial lawyer Josh Hicks, for undermining efforts to defeat the coronavirus by tying them up in litigation.
"I'm a physician who works across central Kentucky. We're all fighting to end the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. George Ginter of Lexington, Ky., says in the ad. "But trial lawyer Josh Hicks is looking to make a quick buck, suing hospitals who are treating COVID patients. Hicks even filed a lawsuit against a company developing a vaccine against COVID-19."
Hicks's law firm specializes in "personal injury, car and truck accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse and neglect," according to its Campton, Ky., office. Hicks opened the office amid the coronavirus pandemic in May, the firm's Facebook page shows.
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Barr contrasted his record of fighting for federal pandemic relief to that of Hicks, who has persisted in pursuing the lawsuits—which date back to 2019—amid the pandemic.
"While liberal trial lawyer Josh Hicks was looking to make a quick buck by suing the very hospitals and doctors treating COVID patients, I went to work to help defeat the virus by fighting for those hospitals and doctors," Barr told the Washington Free Beacon.
Hicks did not respond to a request for comment.
The Democrat has not been shy about his trial lawyer past. Hicks has previously used inclement weather to attract customers, writing that it's "officially slip-and-fall and rear-end accident season in Kentucky" in a November 2018 social media post.
Hicks served in the Maysville Police Department from 2003 to 2008 prior to becoming an attorney. He has drawn scrutiny for how he has portrayed his law enforcement career on the campaign trail. Hicks has claimed to have witnessed systemic racism in law enforcement firsthand, saying that it's "been going on for a long time" during a June debate.
"I'm speaking from a position of responsibility because this is a profession I was in," Hicks said.
The Kentucky Democrat once mocked the liberal activists he is hoping to turn out in November. He railed against police critics in a 2005 online message board post, writing that "it's become trendy and cool to say ‘F— THA POLICE DAWG' and have that sort of attitude;" he further urged the public to "call bull— on the overwhelming number of people who claim to have bad experiences."
Hicks will face Barr in November after receiving 72 percent of the vote in the state's June primary. Barr previously held off a challenge from current Democratic Senate nominee Amy McGrath in 2018.