Outside groups for McConnell entering Kentucky as Election Day nears

09/26/2014 03:00 PM

UPDATED WITH GRIMES CAMPAIGN RESPONSE: A week after Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates traded fire in competing gun ads, the National Rifle Association is running a six-figure television spot against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The move comes as another outside group, Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies, readies to unload $1.2 million for McConnell in October.

The NRA, which has endorsed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, has spent $308,874 through its Political Victory Fund to produce and distribute television advertising opposing Grimes, according to independent expenditure notices filed with the Federal Election Commission. The group has also spent $90,134 to produce and broadcast radio advertisements supporting McConnell’s campaign, FEC filings show.

The NRA’s TV and radio ads first aired Tuesday, according to FEC filings.

The group’s nearly $400,000 spent in Kentucky is part of an $11.4 million advertising blitz as the fall midterm elections near, as Politico first reported last week. Other states targeted in the NRA’s push include North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado, according to Politico.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes won’t protect your rights,” a woman says to the camera in the ad. “Defend your right to self defense. Defeat Alison Lundergan Grimes.”

The TV ad can be seen here:

Politico also reported in a separate piece this week that Crossroads GPS, a 501( c)(4) nonprofit affiliated with the super PAC American Crossroads, has reserved $1.2 million of airtime in Kentucky. Thus far the group has purchased $141,619 in the Louisville and Lexington markets through Time Warner Cable, according to sales documents.

From Politico:

Former senior Mitch McConnell aide Steven J. Law, the president of Crossroads GPS, sits on the board of Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a group formed in April 2013 as the lead outside vehicle to go after Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. The two groups are allowed to work closely, and there is heavy overlap among their donors. They are independent from and cannot coordinate with McConnell’s campaign. Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has been beating up Grimes on the air for months.

Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton said in a statement that McConnell “has spent his 30 years in Washington building a network of lobbyists and special interest groups that funnel him campaign contributions in return for legislative action — or inaction as the case has been.”

“McConnell has sold out Kentucky to the Koch brothers and clearly relies on out-of-state donations from millionaires and billionaires to enable his campaign’s false and misleading attack ads,” she said.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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