Kentucky GOP won't support nominee with 'offensive' comments

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Republican Party of Kentucky has disavowed a GOP candidate for the state legislature who is being criticized for racially charged comments he's made in the past.

Everett Corley narrowly won the Republican nomination for the 43rd District House seat in Louisville. Two years ago, he sued to stop the removal of a Confederate soldier statue near the University of Louisville. The Kentucky Democratic Party this week accused Corley of being a white nationalist and pointed out that he called a U of L professor a "dirty black bastard" during the fight over the Confederate statue. The city removed the statue, and Corley apologized for the comment.

In a release Friday, the GOP called Corley a "perennial candidate with a history of offensive statements and behavior." The state GOP said it would not support his candidacy now or in the future. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell also criticized the candidate on Friday, telling the Courier Journal that Corley has "backwards views" and his "rhetoric must be given no corner in the Republican Party or anywhere in America."

Republican officials had also recoiled from state House candidate Dan Johnson, of Bullitt County, two years ago after it was revealed he had made a series of Facebook posts that depicted former President Barack Obama and the first lady as monkeys. Future Republican Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover had called on Johnson to drop out of the race. But after Johnson's victory, Hoover said Johnson would be "welcome in our caucus."

Johnson fatally shot himself in December after a news report detailed sexual assault allegations against him from 2013.