Ky. GOP continues 'Where is Alison?' theme as Grimes 'wows' Democratic donors at Martha's Vineyard

07/13/2013 05:00 PM

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes impressed national Democratic donors at a Martha’s Vineyard fundraiser Saturday, as the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman reported.

But Kentucky Republicans pounced on the fact that Grimes’ first appearance in 12 days came at a private fundraiser.

Grimes’ spokesman Jonathan Hurst didn’t return messages Saturday afternoon seeking comment.

But Grimes gave what donors told Fineman was a “feisty talk” that combined Democratic talking points on job creation with “a pedal to the metal attack on McConnell.” One donor told Fineman that was “amazing” and sparked a rare standing ovation. From the article:

Each year the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee invites top donors to schmooze with senators, especially those up for reelection, and inspect the merchandise of challengers who will take on Republican incumbents.

Grimes spoke to the group Saturday morning and brought the jaded and normally undemonstrative crowd to its feet in wild applause, said one top donor, who had been deeply skeptical of the idea that McConnell could be knocked off by anyone. He and another attendee spoke to The Huffington Post on the condition that their names not be used.

Still, Kentucky Republican Party spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper issued a statement saying Grimes was “living it up with rich fat cat liberals, (while) Senator McConnell is spending time in the Commonwealth reaching out to Kentuckians.”

“There is a clear contrast between a Senator who has always known Kentucky comes first and a candidate eager to travel the country seeking the approval of the Obama crowd,” Cooper said.

Fundraising efforts, though, naturally draw candidates to ritzy locations. McConnell, for instance, has held a series of fundraising events earlier this year at various sites in Washington, D.C., and in January, held a fundraising reception on Fifth Avenue in New York at the home of grocery store magnate John Catsimatidis, according to the Sunshine Foundation’s Political Party Time website.

Plus, Grimes is just starting her fundraising efforts against McConnell, whose campaign confirmed this week that he had raised another $2.2. million in the 2nd quarter of the year and has $9.6 million on hand.

But Grimes popping up at an out-of-state fundraiser plays into the narrative Republicans have been constructing that Grimes is avoiding answering Kentuckians’ questions since announcing for the Senate.

McConnell’s campaign on Friday launched a website — Waiting for Alison — aimed at highlighting her lack of public appearances, as Joe Arnold of WHAS reported first. The site counts the time from Grimes’ last appearance in public, which was her July 1 candidacy announcement.

The conservative national press has seized on it too. Both the Daily Caller and the National Review published pieces Saturday highlighting the Kentucky GOP’s criticism of Grimes, specifically the Martha’s Vineyard event. The National Review also published in its piece a picture McConnell tweeted out of the parade he and wife Elaine Chao attended in Campbellsville earlier Saturday.

“All that’s missing is apple pie and a bluegrass banjo,” the National Review’s Robert Costa wrote.


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