Grimes' grandmother stars in ad blasting McConnell's Medicare votes

09/18/2014 09:54 AM

UPDATED WITH MCCONNELL AD: Elsie Case, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ maternal grandmother, plays a key part in Grimes’ latest television ad released Thursday, recounting her husband’s stoke and the couple’s struggle to make ends meet.

The ad, titled “Proud Man,” also features Grimes attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s votes on Republican budgets, which didn’t pass, that would have altered the Medicare system.

Case, who also played a prominent role in a light-hearted ad credited with Grimes’ victory in her 2011 secretary of state race, says in the ad that her husband’s stroke in 2000 and subsequent medical bills affected the couple’s finances. Grimes says in the ad her grandfather could not speak or work after his stroke.

“Our life became something else,” Case says to the camera before a black-and-white photo of the couple fill the screen. “No more vacations. No retirement. Just existing.”

Grimes, at the end of the spot, said she would “never” vote to raise Medicare costs for beneficiaries.

“This is why we have to strengthen Medicare,” she says to the camera. “Senator McConnell’s voted over and over again to raise seniors’ Medicare costs.”

The ad, a six-figure buy, is scheduled to run statewide and can be viewed here:

Grimes has previously leaned on McConnell’s votes regarding Medicare in television spots, which included an attack against the five-term incumbent for raising Medicare costs on seniors by $6,000. Fact checkers contradicted the claim , but Grimes stood by the previous ad, citing a National Journal story saying the Republican budgets could have raised some costs for Medicare recipients.

McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore called Grimes’ spot “a touching family story about a familiar circumstance to many Kentucky families followed by a totally debunked partisan attack” from “an increasingly desperate” Grimes.

“Anyone who would use their grandfather’s stroke to reintroduce an attack that received the triple crown of fact check false ratings has run out of justification for their candidacy,” Moore said in a statement.

Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton took McConnell’s team to task for their remarks on Grimes’ grandfather.

“In a new low even for him, it is repulsive that Mitch McConnell is attacking Alison’s deceased grandfather,” Norton said in a statement.

McConnell responded with his own Medicare television ad later Thursday, featuring Hasque and Pansy Williams of London, Ky., praising the senator for his influence in easing the burden of unpaid hospital bills.

“In 2010 I was working on the farm and I got sick and had to go to the hospital,” Hasque Williams says in the ad.

“With a mix-up in paperwork, Medicare wasn’t paying our bills,” Pansy Williams says. “We were threatened by bill collectors, and we were so upset. We reached out to Senator McConnell. Mitch contacted Medicare, and with his experience, you bet they listened.”

McConnell’s ad is scheduled to air statewide.

Preston Maddock, Grimes’ deputy press secretary, said in response, “Given his record of destroying Medicare, Mitch McConnell’s attempt to show how he helped two seniors is like a fox pointing to the only two survivors he left behind in the henhouse.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.