Fundraiser attendees dispute Grimes' claim of talking coal with Harry Reid

06/09/2014 05:29 PM

After assuring Kentuckians that she would use a fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to press the issue of coal, attendees at the Washington event say Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes didn’t bring the issue up once.

The Grimes campaign told The Hill that the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate had “strong words” for the Senate Majority leader, whom the Republicans have worked to tie Grimes to throughout the campaign.

“She offered real stories of Kentuckians struggling to make ends meet and stressed that we need a comprehensive, balanced approach that reigns in the EPA, invests in clean coal technology, and keeps foreign markets open for Kentucky coal,” Grimes campaign manger Jonathan Hurst said in an email to The Hill newspaper on Monday.

However, Grimes didn’t speak about coal once in an 11-minute speech at the fundraiser, according to Politico .

The publication obtained a recording of the fundraising event from an attendee. Politico reports that not once in the recording does Grimes say the word “coal.”

Hear the recording published by Politico here:

Reid’s spokesman told both Politico and The Hill that Grimes did express her opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency regulations to Reid and added that the two have spoken about the issue since last week’s fundraiser as well. In the recording, Grimes says she and Reid speak on the phone frequently.

According to Politico, Reid spoke highly of Grimes in his speech to the 60 attendees at the fundraiser, even calling her the “perfect candidate.”

“So Alison, I’m not only depending on you, and my 54 Democratic senators are depending on you, but our country is depending on you,” Reid said. “I say that as unequivocally as I can.”

The McConnell campaign responded to the fundraiser and recording by saying the saga is indicative of the type of senator she would be.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes just did exactly what every Kentuckian knew she would – tell them one thing and do another with Harry Reid. If there was any question about what she would do as a Senator, this tape erased all doubt,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement.

Republicans frequently remind voters through ads and other media that Reid made the comments “coal makes us sick” in a 2008 interview. But Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo told Pure Politics he is not worried about it affecting Grimes.

“I bet you if you took a poll in Kentucky, there wouldn’t be 30 percent of the people who knew who the hell Harry Reid was,” Stumbo said. “I think people recognize that you have to raise money outside of Kentucky.”

Stumbo also said Grimes needs to do a better job of continuing to lay the blame of the loss of coal jobs on McConnell because he believes that message will resonate with voters.


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