Politics & Policy

Grimes’s ‘War on Women’ Problem

Kentucky Democrat runs from sexual harassment controversy.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the likely Democratic senate candidate in Kentucky, is in hot water over her refusal to return a campaign contribution from a local politician who resigned last year amid charges of sexual harassment toward female staffers.

Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state and a member of a prominent Kentucky Democratic family, is not backing away from her connection to former Democratic state Representative John Arnold or her ties to an attorney who recently cast the deciding vote not to reprimand Arnold.#ad#

Grimes’s family and political links prompted her probably opponent in November, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to ridicule Grimes’s frequent campaign-trail claim to be a champion for women and women’s issues.

“When the victims of this egregious sexual harassment needed an advocate most, Alison Lundergan Grimes opted to protect the old boys’ club backing her campaign and send her sterile condolences via press release,” the McConnell campaign said in a statement.

Last summer, Arnold resigned following allegations that he sexually harassed and assaulted three female statehouse staffers. The allegations include inappropriate touching and stroking, as well grabbing one woman’s “fancy red lace panties” as she was going up stairs at the state capitol building.

At the time of the revelations, the Grimes campaign condemned Arnold’s actions, but Grimes failed to call on him to resign.

Local news organization described Grimes’s as having “dodged” or “whiffed” on the issue. She also stated that she will not return Arnold’s $250 donation.

Republicans didn’t take her silence lightly.

“Her unwillingness to speak up about the sexual harassment scandal and inability to publicly stand up for the women affected shows Kentucky women where her real priorities lie — with her political future and her campaign’s financial backers, no matter the consequences,” the state’s party said in a statement.

The Kentucky Senate race continues lives up to its billing as a grueling political slugfest. Grimes has aimed to maximize her support among women.

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

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