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Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic canidate for U.S. Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes addresses the Kentucky County Judge Executive Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association Joint Convention Thursday July 18, 2013 , in Louisville, Ky. Grimes is running against Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), and it was her first public appearance since announcing her candidacy July 1st. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Kentucky Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) released a new web ad Thursday featuring the story of an Eastern Kentucky resident who castigates Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for not paying enough attention to the region.

Grimes, the presumed Democratic nominee, and McConnell, who faces a Republican primary challenge from businessman Matt Bevin, have been trading early attacks in the race.

In a release, the Grimes campaign said the resident's testimonial "highlights the stark contrast" between the candidates when it comes to economic issues.

"Unlike Mitch McConnell, Alison understands that unemployment and under-employment are more than a set of numbers; they are the stories of real people," the Grimes campaign said in its release. "After spending nearly 30 years in Washington, McConnell is out of touch with hardworking Kentuckians and consistently chooses partisanship over people." - Huffington Post, 1/23/14

Here's a little more info:

The resident, David Kennedy of Harlan County, recounts to the camera how the area has changed over the years, as shots of Kentucky’s devastated coal country flash across the screen, and describes how he says McConnell has let the region down.

He says McConnell came to the area three decades ago and promised to help build new roads and diversify the economy.

“Well today, 30 years later, David Kennedy’s still driving on the same roads and you can’t show me one job Mitch McConnell helped create,” he says.

He adds: “The big problem that I see with Mitch McConnell is just the simple fact that he’s been in Washington too long,” echoing an attack from Democrats that hits at McConnell’s more than three decades in office. We know he has the ability to help us, we know he can do that, we don’t understand why he’s not.”

Democrats believe that emphasizing the perception that McConnell is no longer working for Kentucky, but only focused on his own interests in Washington, is a political winner in the state, where the senator remains deeply unpopular.

They see him as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent this cycle, and believe Lundergan Grimes has a good shot at taking him down if she can create a favorable contrast with the Republican.

Kennedy attempts to do that in the web ad. He says, after seeing Lundergan Grimes campaign for secretary of State in the area, he realized “she would be one of the greatest things we could do is for Eastern Kentucky, to send her on into Washington.”

“We’ve heard a lot politicians talk in the past and I have confidence that Alison Grimes is not just a talker but a doer,” he adds.

Eastern Kentucky is a politically-weighted locale for the Democrat’s campaign to focus on. It’s been particularly hard-hit by the recession, in part due to a decline in the coal industry that Republicans charge is due to policies promoted by President Obama and Democrats in Congress. - The Hill, 1/23/14

Meanwhile, McConnell's Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin (R. KY), scored a mjor endorsement:

Matt Bevin of Louisville, Ky., speaks during the 133rd Annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Bevin, a Louisville businessman, will face off against Sen. Mitch McConnell in the primary election for the Republican party ticket
FreedomWorks, the high-profile tea party group, has endorsed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) conservative challenger Matt Bevin in the Kentucky Senate race.

"Now more than ever, we need strong fiscal conservatives who will fight to cut spending on the front lines, not the sidelines," FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement on Tuesday. "Matt Bevin is a great upgrade for Kentuckians who are serious about transparency, fiscal responsibility and accountability in government." - TPM, 1/22/14

Bevin has also been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and The Madison Project.  So how is McConnell dealing with all of this?  By trying to dupe voters that he isn't a big asshole:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is up with a new television ad that features an energy worker and throat cancer survivor praising the Republican's efforts to help sick workers.

"These days, I don't have much of a voice. But I and so many Kentuckians have been helped by someone with a strong voice," says Robert Pierce with a whisper. Pierce is identified in the ad as a Paducah Energy Worker and survivor of throat cancer. He goes on to praise McConnell for creating cancer screening efforts and "compensation for sick workers."

"I worked at the Paducah gaseous diffusion plant, which has been vital to our national security. I was exposed to radiation – and like many others, I got cancer," he says.

The McConnell campaign said it is spending six figures on the ad statewide. - Washington Post, 1/22/14

Grimes' campaign pointed out something about McConnell's newest ad:

Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic canidate for U.S. Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes addresses the Kentucky County Judge Executive Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association Joint Convention Thursday July 18, 2013 , in Louisville, Ky. Grimes is running against Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), and it was her first public appearance since announcing her candidacy July 1st. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
But Lundergan Grimes's campaign points out that the new ad is a revamped version of a 2008 ad that also touted McConnell's work for the energy plant. Spokeswoman Charly Norton called it an "old, dishonest play."

"It is no surprise Mitch McConnell has to recycle old TV ads given that he offers no new ideas. It is insulting to Kentuckians for McConnell to haul out this old, dishonest play every six years when he's on the ballot," she said.

"The contrast couldn't be clearer: Mitch McConnell will continue to run from his failed 30-year Washington record, while Alison Lundergan Grimes will bring a fresh approach and stand up for all Kentucky workers." - The Hill, 1/22/14

But there's a catch to McConnell recycling his campaign videos from 2008:

Putting aside that sort of typical partisan back and forth, the ad is a telling indicator of what (and whom) McConnell is worried about in his coming reelection race. He quite clearly is aware of the danger of being cast as a robotic practitioner of just the sort of raw politics people detest (even though that sort of politics often is what gets things done). This ad is an attempt to pre-but (or maybe rebut) that coming attack from Democrats. It portrays a McConnell who is fighting for the little guy in Kentucky, not worried solely about more obscure issues such as the filibuster or campaign finance that captivate official Washington and virtually no one else.

While McConnell undoubtedly wants to reinforce the idea that he is more than a sort of political enforcer to everyone in the state, the ad's message and tone seem particularly targeted at female voters. That suggests that McConnell is most worried not about the primary challenge from wealthy businessman Matt Bevin in May but rather the general election against Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in November. The path to victory for Grimes in a state that quite clearly leans toward Republicans is to peel away GOP-leaning female voters who have sided with McConnell in past elections. (Somewhat surprising factoid: McConnell won women voters 50 percent to 49 percent in his race against Democrat Bruce Lunsford in 2008.) McConnell is moving to blunt that strategy — how successfully remains to be seen.

Here's the big takeaway from the ad: McConnell and his team are focused on Grimes, not Bevin. At least for now. - Washington Post, 1/23/14

We can't let McConnell dupe voters in Kentucky.  We need to remind him how much of a prick he is and Grimes is doing just that.  Lets help her continue to do so by getting involved and donating to her campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 03:45 PM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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