Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes

‘These Are Serious Times.’


The reelection campaign of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, declaring “these are serious times.”


After a series of polls showing Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race trending for incumbent Mitch McConnell, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes has released a new poll showing her ahead by one percentage point. The internal poll was conducted by Mark Mellman, a Washington-based pollster hired by the Grimes campaign.

The last eight polls showed McConnell ahead; the latest from NBC News had him up by 8 points.

That’s what’s known as a “Please don’t abandon me!” move.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Kentucky , Polling

Hollywood Democrats, Digging Deep for Lundergan Grimes and Nunn


The Democrats’ friends in Hollywood are making a big push to help Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn in Georgia.

On Tuesday, Nunn — who has been a frequent visitor to LA’s Westside this season, arrives back in town Tuesday for an early evening reception at the Hancock Park mansion of media moguls Michael Kong and Stacey Twilley. Among the hosts contributing $5,200 each to fuel Nunn’s Georgia run are Keith Addis, Marcy Carsey, Sherry Lansing, Michael Lombardo & Sonny Ward, Howie Mandel and Nancy Stephens. Other tickets are scaled from $2,600 apiece down to $500.

Grimes’ September 18 fundraiser is shaping up to be Hollywood’s biggest A-ticket event this month. Like all of Grimes’ Los Angeles fundraisers, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is once again a driving force. The studio chief has not only declared Grimes’ election his number one priority of this electoral cycle but already has raised well over $1 million on her behalf. In this final push, Katzenberg appears to be pulling in support from all corners of the industry, including director James Cameron, who in recent years has been a donor to Republican candidates.

You can picture the NRSC’s web videos already: “It’s crunch time, so Michelle Nunn/Alison Lundergan Grimes are headed to Hollywood, not Georgia/Kentucky” . . . 

According to the June 30 filing statements, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has $3.1 million more cash on hand than Grimes. But Nunn has $4 million more on hand than David Purdue in Georgia. Still, if Purdue needs some more cash, he can probably find it: “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported Perdue’s net worth, after examining his disclosure, at between $11.9 million and $48 million.”

Lundergan Grimes and Nunn probably don’t actually need more money; they need a more convincing case that they won’t be like the national Democrats that are so unpopular in Kentucky and Georgia.

Tags: Kentucky , Georgia , Hollywood , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Michelle Nunn

Nobody’s Buzzing About Alison Lundergan Grimes Anymore.


You don’t hear Democrats buzzing about beating Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky these days. There’s a pretty good reason for that.

McConnell doesn’t have a great lead, or an insurmountable lead — just a steady one:

If you’re the DSCC or a Democrat-leaning SuperPAC, what’s the higher priority? Knocking off McConnell? Or saving vulnerable incumbents like Hagan, Udall, Landrieu, Pryor, etc.?

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes , Mitch McConnell

Democratic Senate Candidates Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . Like Israel, Iraq, the Border . . .


Running for Senate is difficult. Sooner or later, you’ll get asked a question about an issue you haven’t researched. So you can try to wing it, as Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes did, and suggest that Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system protects the country from Hamas tunnels . . . 

. . . or you can try the approach of Montana Democrat Amanda Curtis:

When asked her position on the situation in Iraq, Curtis told CNN, “Give me a little more time.” On the border crisis, “I’ll need more time, you know only 11 days ago I was painting my storm windows.”

Or, as that campaign memo for Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn described her position on Israel, “TBD” (To Be Determined).

Shifting to Curtis’s preferred topics, how did the storm windows turn out?

Tags: Michelle Nunn , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Amanda Curtis

Never Ask Alison Lundergan Grimes for Defense Advice


Wow. “The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.” — Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Kentucky.

The “Iron Dome” is an anti-missile air-defense system that shoots down incoming rockets, similar to the Patriot-missile batteries that the U.S. used in the Persian Gulf War.

It does not work underground.

Funny, she always looked like an expert on
military and national-security issues.

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes

Democratic Senate Nominee Attacks Obama in New Ad


Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is attempting to unseat Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), released a radio ad attacking President Obama for the Environmental Protection Agency’s coal-industry regulations.

“Mr. President, Kentucky has lost one-third of our coal jobs in just the last three years,” Grimes says in the ad, per the Courier-Journal. “Now your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie-in-the-sky regulations that are impossible to achieve.”

The apparent purpose of the radio spot is to assure conservative voters in the red state that Grimes won’t be a loyal foot soldier to Obama and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) if she is elected.

The McConnell campaign countered by reminding Kentuckians that Grimes was a delegate for Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“Her belated concern about the war on coal now that she’s a candidate, after helping to ensure it by backing Obama, is insulting and transparently political,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said in response to the ad.

You can expect Grimes and McConnell to continue fighting about her ties to Obama. ”This is what the entire election is about: Either McConnell is going to successfully tie Grimes to Obama’s liberal policies and win, or he’ll fail at that and lose,” a Republican strategist said. “This is a microcosm of the entire election.” 

The sparring about Grimes’s ad comes on the same day that Reid blocked a McConnell bill that would delay the EPA’s regulation to cut carbon emissions at existing coal plants.

“The EPA’s proposed regulation on existing power plants is only going to add to the economic challenges facing Kentucky—especially in Eastern Kentucky, which is ‘Ground Zero’ for what’s happening to our coal industry,” said Bill Bissett, president of the KY Coal Association. “We believe these proposed regulations will not only cause Kentucky’s electricity rates to skyrocket, but it will also harm the reliability of our electricity supply across the United States. The Kentucky Coal Association fully supports and appreciates Senator McConnell’s Coal Country Protection Act, which will make the Obama Administration and the EPA face the truth of what this regulation is going to do to American families, the coal industry and U.S. electricity production.”

Tags: Kentucky , Mitch McConnell , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Alison Grimes

A Good Night for McConnell, a Disappointing One for the Clinton Family


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

How About [YAWN] Those Thrilling [YAWN] Primary Night Results?

It would be easy to say something snarky or derisive about Matt Bevin, jumping into a primary challenge against Mitch McConnell and largely failing to get any traction, winning only 35 percent to McConnell’s 60 percent. Yes, he made a bunch of missteps along the way. Yes, he was an imperfect-at-best messenger for an anti-TARP message. But he got in the arena, made his case, stood up for what he believed in, and took his lumps. That’s what America’s system of free elections is all about, and the country — and the conservative movement — will need more people willing to do that in the years to come. And as much as Tuesday night’s results must have disappointed Bevin and his supporters, it’s worth remembering that the McConnell campaign treated him like a serious threat — because he had the potential to be a serious threat.

The boss . . . doesn’t quite agree:

To no one’s surprise, Mitch McConnell won handily tonight, a testament to his sure-footedness in Kentucky politics and to the folly of the groups that invested so much in defeating him. Those groups ran a weak candidate with probably only a long-shot chance to win at best and ended up, in effect, making a large in-kind contribution to the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign — largely because they were bent on pursuing a vendetta with deep roots in the Senate cloakroom, consequences be damned. I’m glad that, as Pat notes, the groups are now endorsing McConnell, but this was a primary challenge that started out dumb and ended up dumber.

Note that last night Grimes got . . . 76 percent up against a trio of no-names in the Democratic primary? Hmm. Nearly 100,000 Kentucky Democrats voted for one of the other guys.

In Georgia’s GOP Senate primary, David Purdue and Jack Kingston advanced to the runoff, as expected.

In Pennsylvania . . . maybe the Clinton endorsement isn’t so golden after all:

State Rep. Brendan Boyle won the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District Tuesday and is overwhelmingly favored to take over the Democratic-leaning district, after besting Clinton in-law and former Rep. Marjorie Margolies in the primary.

Quick point on Oregon, where we can expect the rest of the campaign to revolve around this:

An employee of the Democratic Party of Oregon was the first person to request the April 2013 police report of timber baron Andrew Miller accusing Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby of “stalking” him after a break-up.

For Republicans, there’s some delicious satisfaction of accurately accusing Democrats of snooping around in a woman’s personal life, and accusing them of a war on women.

But are those of us who don’t know Monica Wehby sure the voters shouldn’t think about this accusation? Maybe not enough to disqualify herself from the U.S. Senate, the august institution that includes Al Franken and used to include Ted Kennedy, Robert “Sheets” Byrd, Ben “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson, Bob Torricelli . . . 

This is from her victory speech last night:

When I was going through the process of deciding to get into this race it was my son who first said, “Mom, why would you leave a job that you love, that you trained until you were 35 years old to do, where everybody loves you, to take a job where people say all kinds of mean things about you on the internet.”

And I told him about a brain-tumor patient of mine who had made a full recovery and came back to my office to give me a card that I treasure to this day. The card read, “If we’re not here to make life better for one another, then what’s the point?” Over the last several days, in the face of vicious, ugly, and hurtful attacks, I’ve thought a lot about both my son’s question and my patient’s words of wisdom. And now more than ever I take those words to heart. I am running for Senate because I want to help make life a little better for each other.

Look, Lord knows I’m not perfect. I am like countless other Oregonians. I’m a working mom who balances a career that I love with children that I adore and would do anything to protect. I try my best, but in my life I’ve made some mistakes. And when I do, I’m no different than any of you in that when I’ve fallen short, I have gotten up and tried to do better. I promise that as your Senator, I will do the same.

My message to the Democrats who are willing to shred my family for their own political gain is that people are tired of your dirty tricks. The best way to defeat a bully is to stand up to them, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Tonight, we are sending a message that this Senate race will not be decided by the ugly kind of politics that people in Oregon and across the country are sick of. That time is over.

I’m exactly the person capable of changing things. You see I’m not a career politician, but I am a doctor, a mom, and someone very familiar with my opponent’s playbook. As President of the Oregon Medical Association, I ran our state’s TORT reform campaign — that was my first experience with hate mail. In 2009 I put my professional reputation on the line by appearing in television ads that ran nationwide warning people about the dangers of Obamacare — that was when I had to change my home phone number. In 2011 I ran and was elected to the board of trustees at the American Medical Association as a conservative change agent, to try and move that organization in a more balanced direction.

I say this not just to give you a bit of my biography, but to let you know that I have a long history of standing up for what I believe in.

Game on, Oregon.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Monica Wehby

Democrats Respond to CBO: Nuh-uhhhh!


Here’s one approach a Democrat can take in response to the CBO finding that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour could eliminate 500,000 or even a million jobs: Ignore it entirely.

From the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign:

As Kentuckians know, raising the minimum wage would create thousands of good-paying jobs in Kentucky and increase the spending power for tens of thousands of the Commonwealth’s hardworking families. The people of Kentucky are ready to vote out a Washington politician, worth over $25 million, who is asking them to believe that giving 255,000 women a raise will somehow hurt the economy.

Democrats continue to insist that their proposals are all upside and no downside. It’s like arguing with a child. “Nuh-uhhhh!”

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky GOP Asks U.S. Attorney to Investigate Grimes Campaign


Cynical as it may sound, I wouldn’t count on an Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney to torpedo the hopes of Alison Lundergan Grimes. After all, she’s probably the Democrats’ top challenger against a GOP Senate incumbent in this cycle.

But it’s probably worth it for Kentucky Republicans to ask for an investigation, just to see how the U.S. Attorney’s office responds to claim of an offer for unspecified “favors” to persuade a candidate to drop out.

The Republican Party of Kentucky plans to ask a U.S. attorney Monday to investigate claims made by former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ed Marksberry that he was offered future favors to drop out of the race against Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In a letter provided to the Herald-Leader by the Republican Party, state GOP Chairman Steve Robertson asks U.S. Attorney David Hale in Louisville to investigate Marksberry’s claims.

The Grimes campaign says Marksberry’s claim that he was offered favors in exchange for dropping out of the race ”did not happen.”

Ed Marksberry’s Senate campaign website can be found here; he was the Democrats’ nominee for Congress in the state’s second congressional district in 2010, taking on first-term Republican Brett Guthrie. He won 32 percent, or about 77,000 votes. 

Marksberry made his allegations in a 15-page message to the blog Page One Kentucky; here’s how the proprietor of that site assesses his allegations:

I don’t believe Ed Marksberry is a serious candidate. He is not a threat to Alison Grimes or anyone else in this race. I’ve said it previously and have suggested as much with nearly every mention of the man. That’s not to say he’s not a nice guy and it absolutely does not mean his core issues are unimportant. He deserves to be equally heard and his role in this race is to get people to talk about things they don’t want to talk about.

I also don’t believe the vote-buying allegations are the most important part of Marksberry’s gigantic missive. Though, those making the offers ought to lawyer up because the man isn’t lying. Otherwise, Charly Norton wouldn’t be losing her mind and the Grimes inner circle wouldn’t be randomly calling me after months and months of radio silence.

Charly Norton is the press secretary for Grimes’s Senate campaign.

Marksberry dropped out of the Democratic primary last September and is running as an independent. 

High-level efforts to discourage primary competition are nothing new, of course. Back in 2010, the White House faced controversy when it was revealed that Bill Clinton, acting on behalf of then–White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, reached out to Representative Joe Sestak, a Pennsylvania Democrat, and offered him an unpaid advisory position if he dropped his bid against Senator Arlen Specter. Sestak refused and he went on to beat Specter; Sestak lost to Senator Patrick Toomey in November. 

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes , Ed Marksberry

She’s the Democrats’ Great Hope in Kentucky? Her?


Huge Jolt before the Independence Day holiday begins: A key provision of Obamacare is delayed; Obama fiddles as Egypt (and the rest of the Middle East) burns, and then these developments in Kentucky . . . 

Wait, This Is the Democrats’ Great Hope in Kentucky? Her?

Meet Alison Grimes, the woman Democrats are thrilled to have running against Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky:

Even Alison Lundergan Grimes didn’t know what she would announce to the world late Monday afternoon when she arrived at the building she used as the headquarters for her campaign in 2011. Or, at least, she didn’t let on to the more than 100 supporters she called there that she had made a decision about running for the U.S. Senate until the very end of the meeting.

Interviews with more than a half-dozen people who attended the meeting — several of whom asked not to be quoted — yielded descriptions of Grimes’s approach to the announcement as “unorthodox,” “unprecedented,” “fascinating” and, at times, “surreal.”

Instead of telling supporters whether she was running for Senate, Grimes opened it up for them to tell her what they thought. After the first several people spoke, Grimes began calling on others by name to give their takes. After nearly an hour, a consensus emerged: she should run for the party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.

She’ll let you know what she’s decided regarding one of the most important decisions in her life . . . after her Committee of 100 gets back to her.

Of course, this sort of surprise, no-decision-until-the-Committee-of-100-speaks approach does have its, er, challenges:

On Tuesday, two very basic, stripped-down websites, and emerged without links to contribute money. It is not yet clear whether Grimes’s campaign controls those sites.

“Basic, stripped down”? That’s being generous. Let me put it this way: When you look like these . . . 

 . . . then no, neither she nor any allied organization owns those URLs, and the person who does is hoping to get a big check for them.

As for yesterday’s announcement, well . . . apparently it wasn’t the real campaign roll-out. That comes later.

The Grimes campaign says Monday’s announcement was not a rollout.

“Yesterday Alison was simply announcing her intentions to run. I’m certain when we do our rollout, you will see that this will be a top tier campaign and we will have the most professional organization in the state,” responded Hurst.


There’s a bizarre music video mocking Grimes from Mitch McConnell’s team. If you want to see her real announcement — before an “Allison Grimes for Secretary of State” banner — you can find it here.

“Boy, is her delivery wooden.” — Pinocchio.

Anyway, the primary argument from optimistic Democrats is that even though they haven’t won a U.S. Senate race in Kentucky since 1992, and even though Obama is phenomenally unpopular there, and even though Mitch McConnell is going to have roughly a bazillion dollars in his campaign account, and even though McConnell’s campaign team has elbows so sharp, they use them to remove staples, and even though turnout will likely be lower and more GOP-friendly in a midterm year, and even though a better Democratic candidate couldn’t beat newcomer Rand Paul in an open seat Senate race four years ago, and . . . er, wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, Democrats think they have a solid shot because McConnell’s poll numbers are pretty mediocre.

Of course, there’s this independent state house candidate in Kentucky who’s touting praise of himself from McConnell.

The independent campaign of John-Mark Hack in Central Kentucky’s special state House election came under fire Sunday for sending mailers with flattering comments about Hack by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and several prominent Democrats.

Republicans and Democrats associated with Hack’s opponents accused him of misleading voters by implying he had endorsements he had not received.

Anyway, if McConnell is this toxically unpopular incumbent, as Democrats believe . . . why does this independent candidate think it helps his odds to remind voters that McConnell likes him?

But credit where it’s due; Grimes can wear a purple hat roughly the size of a minivan way better than McConnell can:

The Joker called. He wants his tablecloth back.

Tags: Alison Lundergan Grimes , Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Democrats: Hey, Doesn’t Anyone Want to Run Against Mitch?


Remember how we keep hearing how vulnerable Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in 2014? The Louisville Courier Journal notices that for some reason, none of Kentucky’s big-name Democrats seem all that eager to run against him:

Attorney General Jack Conway. Former state Auditor Crit Luallen and her successor, Adam Edelen. Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and former Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo.

All are Democrats considering a run for governor in 2015. And not one is interested in running instead to unseat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell next year.

That list doesn’t include Hollywood star Ashley Judd.

At this point, the Democrats’ hopes are on Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, but she hasn’t announced a bid; the state’s lone Democratic congressman is publicly stating she has to make her decision known soon:

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says Grimes needs to let whatever those plans are known before the summer or risk hurting the party.

“I do think that it is important that Alison Grimes immediately decide whether she’s running or not because there are a number of people sitting on the sidelines who would be interested I think in making a race who are waiting to find out what she does. And for her to keep prolonging this as she said possibly until the late summer I think is a disservice to the party,” he says.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Alison Lundergan Grimes , John Yarmuth

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