Pro-McConnell group calls Grimes 'two-faced' on coal

A group backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reelection fight calls his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes “two-faced” for her stance on Kentucky’s coal industry.

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The ad, from the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, declares that “Alison Grimes just got caught in a big lie" by failing to mention coal at a recent fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

It points to comments from Grimes’s spokeswoman, Charly Norton, before the fundraiser, promising that the candidate is “absolutely livid” about the new Environmental Protection Agency rule curbing carbon emissions “and plans to use the event to share the stories of how Kentuckians are hurting and demand that the Senate take action to invest in clean coal technology.”

A subsequent recording of Grimes’s speech at the fundraiser that went public revealed she made no mention of coal, and though her campaign said she discussed the issue privately with Reid, an attendee at the fundraiser said that wouldn’t have been possible as Reid came late and left early.

“Alison Grimes talks tough in Kentucky, but she’s two-faced, because behind closed doors in Washington, when it counts, she doesn’t fight for Kentucky,” a narrator says in the ad.

The spot is running statewide in Kentucky for 10 days starting Tuesday and is backed by a $575,000 buy, as part of nearly $5 million in airtime the group has reserved for the summer months.

McConnell and his supporters see the Obama administration’s energy policies and their impact on the state’s coal industry, one of its biggest employers, as a major line of attack in their campaign against Grimes. She’s responded by distancing herself from Obama and aggressively criticizing him for those policies.

The recording of the fundraiser, however, has complicated that strategy.

In response to the ad, Grimes’ spokeswoman Charly Norton slammed McConnell for declining to sign a pledge to keep outside money out of the race.

"Weeks ago Alison Lundergan Grimes called for a People's Pledge to keep outside special interests out of the Commonwealth and ensure both campaigns can deliver their messages to Kentuckians unvarnished,” Norton said.

“Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell refused to join her and once again sided with his Washington and Wall Street friends over the best interests of Kentuckians. As we've seen from poll after poll showing Alison leading McConnell, Kentucky voters will not be bought in this election, a stark choice between someone who has a jobs plan to put Kentuckians back to work and a 30 year Washington insider who claims bringing jobs to Kentucky is not his responsibility."  

—This piece was updated at 4:30 p.m.