The Campaign Spot

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. 


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