With help from Harlan magistrate, Grimes expands her theme of McConnell losing touch

01/23/2014 12:57 PM

Eastern Kentucky has provided the backdrop for the early goings of U.S. Senate race as Democrats there try to make the case that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has lost touch with Kentucky, while McConnell returns the volley by touting his support for coal.

On Tuesday, the campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes released as an online ad its video showing Harlan County Magistrate David Kennedy, a Democrat, blasting McConnell for not coming through on his promises from his first campaign in 1984 to bring jobs and build roads in Eastern Kentucky.

The Grimes campaign debuted the video last week in Prestonsburg before Grimes’ first major policy address.

“About five or six years ago, Sen. McConnell came to Harlan County. He talked for a few minutes, he got on his bus, and he went on his way,” Kennedy says in the video. “We haven’t seen him since.”

Kennedy made similar points during an interview with Pure Politics after the Grimes event. Here’s that interview:

McConnell, when asked about Kennedy’s comments last Friday, dismissed them as rhetoric from Democratic partisans and pivoted his answer to one of his favorite subjects: the coal industry.

From the time Grimes entered the race in July, McConnell has moved to link her to Democratic President Barack Obama, whom McConnell and many others blame for policies that have accelerated the decline of the coal industry and the layoffs of thousands of miners.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, also offered a defense of McConnell to reporters Wednesday, saying that McConnell “is there all the time” in Eastern Kentucky. While Rogers and McConnell have not always seen eye-to-eye, especially when it comes to intra-party issues, Rogers said he expects McConnell to “do well” in Eastern Kentucky in both the primary and general elections.


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