The Senate Race Speeches: Grimes, Bevin and Marksberry go 3-on-1 against McConnell

08/03/2013 06:28 PM

FANCY FARM — For the first time, Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell shared the stage with challengers who want his job and stuck around long enough at Saturday’s Fancy Farm picnic to hear one of them speak.

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes — and later Democrat Ed Marksberry
and McConnell’s Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin — slammed McConnell for being in Washington too long and not doing enough to help Kentuckians, fix what ails Washington or both.

McConnell, for his part, ignored Bevin completely, both in the senator’s speech and by leaving before Bevin addressed the crowd, which organizers estimated was about 12,000. That’s one of five most well-attended political speaking events in the 133 years of the event.

Instead, McConnell looked ahead to the general election and continued to frame it as a national race.

“Here’s the choice: Obama’s Nevada yes-man or a Kentuckian to run the Senate,” McConnell said, referring to Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid.

Grimes rattled off a few funny lines before settling into her stump speech about why she believes McConnell should be replaced. But she did strike back at one of McConnell’s arguments that voters shouldn’t replace the Senate minority leader with a rookie with little experience.

“I know Senator McConnell believes I’m not right for this job because unlike him, I haven’t been in Washington, D.C., for 30 years,” she said. “But do I really have to apologize for having more experience than Rand Paul?”

Bevin, the Louisville businessman and tea party candidate, made his Fancy Farm debut after not attending any of the pre-picnic events that GOP groups host.

Bevin criticized McConnell in similar terms that Grimes has used: essentially that McConnell has gone Washington. After McConnell left, Bevin used that to further his point.

“Where’s Mitch?” Bevin chanted to the crowd. “You know the people of Kentucky have been wondering that for quite a while now — on both sides of the aisle, I’ll have you know.”

And Ed Marksberry, the Owensboro carpenter who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, rolled out several one-liners aimed at McConnell.

“He doesn’t have a chin. He used to … But he suffers from what I like to call Rump-o-corporate-elites-kiss-me-itis … That’s when after years of kissing the butts of the corporate elites, it just rubs your chin right off,” Marksberry said.

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