U.S. Senate race Chatter: The buzz on Grimes' 1st ad, McConnell pulls in $1 mil. in April

05/08/2014 12:44 PM

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is seeking to boost her name recognition just before the May 20 primary as the Republicans in the race continue to duke it out over the airwaves.

Grimes’ commercial, part of a “six-figure” statewide ad buy, touts accomplishments during her two-plus years as secretary of state. Chief among them is a bill that passed last year that was aimed at making it easier to for military personnel stationed overseas to cast their ballots.

“After she met with our military in the Middle East, Alison Lundergan Grimes came home and brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass a law ensuring every military vote will counted,” says the ad’s narrator, Lyne Dickey of Paducah, whose son Spc. Nicholas McDowell served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006.

But the final version of the legislation — Senate Bill 1— overwhelmingly passed with bipartisan support but didn’t contain the major provision that Grimes was pushing for.

Grimes wanted overseas military personnel to be able to return their ballots electronically. Accompanying her as she testified to lawmakers about the proposal, were representatives from a firm that handles email return of ballots for other states.

But she faced staunch opposition from most of the county clerks, though, with nearly 100 of the 120 clerks opposing the provision to allow ballots to be returned via email. Ultimately the legislature pared back the bill to codify what the federal government already allowed: clerks could email absentee ballots to overseas military personnel, but they had to be returned by mail.

Julie Barr, the Oldham County Clerk who led the opposition to electronic voting, said Thursday she considered the final bill to be a loss for Grimes considering what Grimes started out pushing.

“In my opinion it’s a lot of hoopla over nothing,” Barr told Pure Politics. “I think when you are in the position that Secretary Grimes is in where you are trying to defeat a very strong, well-liked incumbent, this is what I would expect to happen.”

Barr acknowledged that she is supporting McConnell. But she added, “I can assure you, Mitch McConnell would have pulled this, he would have heard from me immediately.”

Grimes to visit 50 counties before primary

Alison Lundergan Grimes will embark on a 50-county bus tour across the state beginning Friday to discuss her jobs plan.

The Grimes campaign released a schedule Wednesday for the bus tour which will span an eleven day period and cover many different corners of the state all before the May 20 primary.

In a statement attached to the release, the Grimes campaign said Kentuckians from all parties are excited to get involved in their campaign as the Republican candidates duke it out in their primary.

The McConnell campaign responded to the bus tour by criticizing Grimes for not being in her current elected office as the chief elections official as the primary approaches.

“It is no surprise that Alison Lundergan Grimes is continuing to abdicate her responsibility as Secretary of State to boost herself politically after she’s spent the last eight months everywhere but Kentucky pandering to Barack Obama donors,” said Team Mitch spokeswoman Allison Moore.

McConnell raises more than $1 million in a month

After coming in second behind Grimes in the last fundraising quarter, the campaign of Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is getting a jump on the next by raising more than $1 million in the month of April alone.

The McConnell campaign reported Thursday that the senior senator will report $1.07 million raised in April and still has over $10 million cash on hand.

The April numbers brings McConnell’s total for the cycle to more than $23 million. Television ads and an early ground game were cited by the campaign as high dollar investments that the campaign has spent the other $13 million on so far.

Anti-coal donor gives to McConnell
Reports show that Senator McConnell’s campaign war chest contains a donation from an anti-coal activist after Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was warned against accepting donations from individuals with unfavorable opinions of the industry.

CNHI reporter Ronnie Ellis reported that anti-coal activist, that Texan David Litman, contributed $2,000 to McConnell’s re-election campaign.

But according to Ellis, Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett—who was the one to caution Grimes against accepting any donations from anti-coal activist Tom Steyer or his super PAC—was not concerned with the donation to McConnell’s campaign.

“Mr. Litman’s activities appear to be six years old,” Bissett told Ellis. “And also, the dollar amounts are hugely different.”

The dollar amount Bissett is referring to is the $100 million Steyer pledged to help fight climate-denying candidates in the midterm elections.

However, neither Steyer or his PAC have donated to Grimes, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Ryan Alessi contributed to this article

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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