McConnell camp drops latest online ad focused on coal as campaigns duel over who is a stronger backer

09/18/2013 09:19 AM

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes are circling each other over an issue that both believe will make a mountain of difference in the race.

Both Grimes and McConnell have rushed to carve out pro-coal positions, which have featured both of them slamming President Barack Obama over his energy and environmental policies. And both have ratcheted up those arguments as the industry continues to shed jobs in Kentucky, including this week.

Grimes released a statement on Tuesday calling on President Barack Obama to “do the right thing” as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases new emissions standards this week.

“I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families. Any new regulations must take into account the impact on Kentucky jobs and be based on current technology that will not drive Kentucky coal out of business,” said Grimes in the statement.

McConnell’s campaign has also been touting his pro coal position and opposition to new EPA standards. McConnell has railed for years against Obama and the EPA’s regulations, including water quality standards that McConnell and others in Kentucky have blamed for blocking new permitting of mines in Eastern Kentucky.

“Nobody has worked harder to protect Kentucky coal than Mitch McConnell. This race is about whether we elect a proud, pro-coal Kentuckian, or a Nevadan who says ‘coal makes us sick’” said McConnell Campaign Manager Jesse Benton, referencing Democratic Floor Leader Harry Reid who is fundraising for Grimes .

Political filmmaker Lucas Baiano produced the new 1:16 ad for the McConnell campaign which the campaign says will receive a “significant online push.”

The ad features McConnell speaking to coal families cinematically cut together with shots of McConnell shaking hands and talking to voters.

The video ends with McConnell shaking hands and telling a constituent, “damn right. We’re not gonna sit there and take it. I assure you that.”

Grimes in her statement Tuesday, though, attacked McConnell for not walking the walk on coal.

“For too long, Kentucky has had a senior senator who talks the talk on coal, but refuses to walk the walk. Despite Senator McConnell’s rhetoric on coal, Kentucky coal jobs have fallen to the lowest number since 1927 under his so-called ‘leadership’ in Washington,” Grimes said.

Kentucky currently has more than 13,000 coal miners in Kentucky. The Herald-Leader reported in May that’s the lowest number ever recorded since the state started counting in 1950.

And on Tuesday, another Kentucky coal company, James River Coal Co., announced 525 more layoffs.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is 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 his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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