How Republican Scott Jennings and his political ad machines helped shape the Senate race in McConnell's favor
11/06/2014 04:11 PM
Scott Jennings, is a protege of the McConnell school of Kentucky politics, from acting as political director for McConnell in 2002 to being a senior adviser six years later in U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s rout of Bruce Lunsford in 2008, he knows the McConnell machine.
In Jennings, McConnell has found a powerful ally with which to wage modern political warfare.
As he explained the day after the Election on Pure Politics, Jennings, via his two Political Action Committees — Kentuckians for Strong Leadership and The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition — essentially carpet bombed Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes from the airwaves as McConnell stuck to his campaign theme. Grimes = Obama.
“We wanted to make a very clear choice in this campaign. If you are unhappy with Barack Obama if you think the Senate is not working under Harry Reid then you can do something about it in this election,” Jennings said.
“What we did is important, but you cannot understate just how flawless of a campaign Mitch McConnell ran. This is why Mitch McConnell is one of the greatest political leaders in Kentucky history.”
Jennings says they knew going into the race McConnell would like face a challenge from his right flank, which came in the form of Matt Bevin, but Jennings PAC’s started defining Grimes during the primary as McConnell took on his Republican challenger.
“We all came out in the summer of 2014 looking at a playing field that looked very positive for us,” Jennings said.
One of the groups Jennings advised for was the 501©4 Kentucky Opportunity Coalition which by federal regulations is meant to educate voters, and Jennings said that outfit spent money focused on educating voters on issue like “the war on coal”, the death tax, the Affordable Care Act.
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, the Super PAC Jennings advised, “kept a laser focus on Alison Grimes.”
Grimes sought help to shrug off the Obama Democrat label by bringing in former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton — something Jennings said contributed to the McConnell strategy of nationalizing the race.
“Can we please put to death the urban legend that Kentucky is Clinton country,” Jennings said. “Look, when he won the state twice, and he did, he never got more than 45 percent of the vote.”
“He campaigned for U.S. Senator Steve Beshear, Dan Mongiardo, Bruce Lunsford, Jack Conway — there is a graveyard of Democrat senate candidates he has campaigned from in Kentucky and now Alison Grimes Senate candidacy is in that graveyard.”
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