Marksberry happy to have Grimes join him in primary but blasts KDP for promoting her

07/02/2013 01:52 PM

The first Democrat to officially enter the race to challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he is “encouraged” by Alison Lundergan Grimes’ entrance into the race but questioned the Kentucky Democratic Party for starting fundraising efforts on Grimes’ behalf.

Ed Marksberry, the former Democratic congressional candidate and Owensboro home builder, told Pure Politics Tuesday that he had urged Grimes to enter the race.

“I always gave her a wink and a nod,” Marksberry said of his encouragement to Grimes. “I think what we need is an honest healthy debate about who is best to represent the Democratic party.”

Marksberry said he sees a big difference in their overall campaign styles noting he will stay grassroots as Grimes will, “be the one raising millions of dollars.”

While contributions are expected to pour into the commonwealth for both Grimes and McConnell, Marksberry said he hopes the money doesn’t drown Grimes potential as a candidate.

The Kentucky Democratic Party jumped on Grimes’ announcement which was held down the street from Democratic party headquarters in a building owned by Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, a former Democratic Party chairman.

The party sent out a message to its supporters Monday just hours after Grimes’ announcement asking for donations to the party specifically to help Grimes defeat McConnell.

“Did you see the news?
Alison Lundergan Grimes has officially declared her intention to run against Senator Mitch McConnell.
This is big news. The next 48 hours are critical. Click here and help us build a grassroots team that will make sure Alison wins.
Alison is the strongest candidate we could’ve had against Senator McConnell, and she will defeat Mitch.
But defeating Mitch won’t be easy. He is going to do everything he can, say what ever he can and throw more mud than our Commonwealth has ever seen in order to win.
Help us start strong. Click here to make a contribution today.”

Marksberry said the email conflicts with the bylaws of the Kentucky Democratic Party, because the message essentially promotes one candidate over another in a primary. The party isn’t supposed to pick sides.

“That was very amateur hour from KDP to do that. They only care about the big money donors,” Marksberry said of Democratic Party leadership. “I’m taking them to task on this…. all this money they’re raising. I’m going to ask they divvy it up to all candidates running.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party had not returned Marksberry’s call before he spoke with Pure Politics in a telephone interview, and he wasn’t hopeful that anything would change.

“I expect it won’t go anywhere on there part. That’s why I call upon their leadership to do it,” Marksberry said.

Officials with the party didn’t immediately return a message left by Pure Politics. A woman answering the phone at party headquarters this morning said Jared Smith, the party’s finance director who sent the message from the party, was in a meeting and unavailable.

Marksberry said he’d been in contact with the party and asked them to promote his campaign video weeks earlier, but they refused on the grounds that it would infringe upon the groups bylaws.

Music promoter Bennie J. Smith of Louisville has also announced his intent to run for the Democratic party’s nomination.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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