Lundergan Grimes hits McConnell on Eastern Ky. commitment

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes released a new Web ad on Thursday featuring an eastern Kentucky resident criticizing what he characterizes as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) lack of commitment to the area.

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The resident, Harlan County Magistrate David Kennedy, 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's 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.

Republicans are looking to make those policies an issue for Lundergan Grimes in the race. But she’s gone on offense in the area in recent weeks, launching a jobs plan for Kentucky with a speech in the region, and now focusing on an Eastern Kentucky resident in the new web ad.

The web ad comes on the heels of a television ad launched by McConnell's campaign in which another Kentucky resident, Robert Pierce, touts the work the senator has done for him and others who suffered health issues after working in a power plant.

McConnell's campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore implied the region's economic issues profiled in the video were as much the fault of Obama's policies.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes is really struggling to make a case for why empowering Barack Obama and Harry Reid over a champion for the region in Mitch McConnell is good for Eastern Kentucky," she said.

—This piece was updated to include comment from McConnell's campaign.

Watch the web ad: