No Obama Stumping for Grimes, But She's Hoping Warren, Clinton Help Beat McConnell
WASHINGTON – Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is bringing some heavy political hitters into Kentucky as part of her last-gasp effort to unseat incumbent Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, but one of her promoters certainly won’t be President Obama.
Grimes accompanied Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of the upper chamber’s most progressive members, at a stop in Louisville on Tuesday and is expected to welcome, once again, former President Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to stump for her in Louisville and Ashland on Thursday.
Clinton, who already has visited the state three times on Grimes’ behalf, is friends with her father, Jerry Lundergan, a former state representative and onetime chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Grimes, who actively promotes herself as a “Clinton Democrat,” already has hosted former secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in her quest to make up ground against McConnell in a race expected to go down to the wire. Clinton is scheduled to make a return visit on Saturday.
But it doesn’t appear Obama will be stopping by, even though he has started making appearance for select candidates. Grimes has spent most of the campaign trying to separate herself from the president, refusing at one point to say if she voted for him in 2012. Obama has the approval of only 31 percent of Bluegrass residents and Grimes has attempted to escape his orbit by clinging to the Clintons.
Real Clear Politics shows McConnell, seeking a sixth six-year term, with a 4.4 percentage point lead but at least one recent poll shows the race in a virtual tie. The next big survey, the Bluegrass Poll, conducted for five state media outlets by Survey USA, is slated for release Thursday.
Also perturbing to McConnell is his inability to consistently vault the magic 50 percent mark in a series of polls, a number that would all but assure him victory come Nov. 4. Of the five most recent polls in the race, only one showed him above 50 percent, leaving him with an average of 46.2 percent, providing Grimes with a potential opening.
Warren and Grimes targeted Kentucky’s women voters in their remarks on Tuesday, with both noting they support an increase in the minimum wage, equal pay for women who perform equal work and providing some assistance for those seeking to refinance their student debt – all issues that McConnell has voted against in the past.
Despite the pitch, Kentucky Democrats remain perplexed over poll results that show McConnell running even or slightly ahead of Grimes among women voters. A most recent Bluegrass Poll showed McConnell with a one-point edge among women. The Warren visit and subsequent campaigning by Hillary Clinton are aimed at propping up those numbers.
“There is no better fighter for America's middle class, for America's working people, than Alison Lundergan Grimes," Warren said. "Alison is willing to fight back and better yet, Alison is willing to fight forward."
Warren further noted that McConnell and his fellow Republicans are in the Senate “to work for the millionaires and billionaires.”
“This is right in line with the Republican philosophy across the board, because their view is the most important thing government can do is protect the tender fannies of the rich and powerful,” Warren said. “Let’s be clear about this -- the game is rigged and Mitch McConnell wants to keep it rigged.”
McConnell also is bringing in some names in the final days. Singer Lee Greenwood, best known for his song “God Bless the USA,” accompanied the GOP leader as he made a final tour of some of the more rural parts of the state. On Wednesday night, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is considering staging his own presidential run in 2016, met up with McConnell in Louisville.
Jindal, the featured speaker at what was dubbed the Restore America Rally, offered voters a simple message – re-elect McConnell to create a Republican majority in the upper chamber that will shove Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, aside.
Neither candidate offered much on the issue of the day but on Tuesday McConnell once again tried to explain his position on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.