Trading shots: McConnell gets award from NRA; Grimes offers to shoot with McConnell

11/08/2013 06:30 PM

For the second time this week, the U.S. Senate candidates sought to one-up the other on an issue. On Friday it was guns.

As U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell accepted an honor from the National Rifle Association in southern Jefferson County, the campaign of his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes tweeted pictures of Grimes shooting and welcomed McConnell to shoot with her.

Just days earlier, it was McConnell who stole Grimes’ thunder on labor issues when he proposed a right to work amendment in the U.S. Senate on the same day Grimes accepted the endorsement of the Kentucky AFL-CIO.

On Friday about 60 McConnell supporters — some wearing “pro gun” shirts in the style of 1986 Tom Cruise hit “Top Gun” — attended the event on the eve of the beginnning of Kentucky’s deer hunting season.

In addition to receiving the NRA’s ‘Defender of Freedom’ award, McConnell used the event to kick off “Sportsmen for Team Mitch” — the latest theme his campaign has highlighted.

Among those who praised McConnell were a board member from the NRA and McConnell’s former state director Larry Cox. McConnell supporters touted the most recent success of The Freedom to Fish Act which McConnell worked on with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville.

Watch McConnell’s full remarks here:

In response to the event, Grimes sent reporters a statement touting her strong support of the NRA, and she offered to shoot with the five-term incumbent U.S. Senator.

“As an NRA member, my strong support for the Second Amendment is unquestioned. I am proud of Kentucky’s long-held gun ownership, sporting and hunting traditions,” Grimes said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that Senator McConnell is desperate to mislead Kentucky voters about my strong support for the Second Amendment. In the Senate, I will protect my fellow Kentuckians’ right to keep and bear arms. Whenever he’s not busy pandering to Washington lobbyists, I welcome Senator McConnell to come shoot with me at the range any day.”

McConnell did not respond to the request from Grimes when asked by reporters. He left the event without fielding any questions.

Allison Moore, McConnell’s campaign spokesperson, did offer a statement to Pure Politics on Grimes’ offer to shoot guns with McConnell.

“The Annie Oakley routine is fun, but Kentuckians are wondering how that’s consistent with Alison’s anti-second amendment positions and the fact that her campaign is funded and supported by anti-gun activists,” Moore said.

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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