(CNN) - Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for Senate from Kentucky, released Saturday what are perhaps the harshest ads of his campaign against Republican nominee Rand Paul.
One ad attacks Paul’s views on federal safety protection and the other addresses the “Aqua Buddah” controversy from earlier this year.
“Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible ‘a hoax,’ that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?” the ad’s announcer says. “Why did Rand Paul once tie up a woman, tell her to bow down before a false idol, and say his god was ‘Aqua Buddha?'”
The ad, which is running statewide, is based on reports that Paul was a member of a secret society while a student at Baylor University. An anonymous woman in “GQ Magazine” and “The Washington Post” made the claims in August. At the time, Paul called the articles ridiculous, but the Conway campaign is now using the claims as a campaign tactic.
“Values matter. Rand Paul chose to join a secret society the university banned,” said Allison Haley, a spokesman for the Conway campaign. “Tying up a woman, no matter what the reason, is nothing to laugh at.”
In a statement, Paul tried to set the record straight.
“I am a pro-life Christian, and I have never written or spoken anything that would indicate otherwise,” he said.
Paul’s campaign also responded, calling the ads “despicable” and “desperate.”
“Jack Conway stepped way over the line and released a shameful and despicable ad that questions Dr. Paul’s Christian faith,” the campaign said in a statement. “Personal attacks on Rand’s faith are way out of bounds.”
According to recent polls, Conway and Paul are neck-and-neck in the race. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned in the state for Conway last week.