Dem lawmaker: Clinton will 'absolutely' campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth spilled the beans Friday on a planned trip for Hillary Clinton to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky this fall.

“I sure want her in Kentucky and I know she’s going to come to Kentucky and campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes, and she’s welcome here. She’s very popular here, as is President Clinton,” he said on the "Bill Press Show," confirming she’ll “absolutely” be there when asked.

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While the Grimes campaign has previously said it would welcome a visit from the former secretary of State — as would most Democratic candidates this year, who see the enthusiasm surrounding the potential presidential contender as a powerful possible boost to their campaigns — it had not previously confirmed plans for Clinton to head down to the state in her fierce battle to knock off Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Though she’s perhaps this cycle’s most coveted surrogate, Clinton has largely avoided the midterm campaign trail so far, only attending a fundraiser for failed Pennsylvania congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies, whose son is married to her daughter, Chelsea. 

She’s long been expected to make a stop in Kentucky, however, as Grimes has close family ties to the Clintons. Her father, Jerry Lundergan, is a prominent Democratic Party leader in the state and ran Clinton’s Kentucky operation during her 2008 presidential campaign.

Those family ties brought Bill Clinton to Kentucky early on for Grimes, and Yarmuth said he’ll be stopping by again this fall as Grimes heads into the final leg of the campaign. 

Yarmuth said things were going “very, very well for Grimes,” noting her record-breaking fundraising haul this past cycle, where she outraised McConnell by about a million dollars. He also said he hopes the two debate, but he thinks McConnell won’t and is “trying to play games” in scheduling the debate.

Polling has shown a tight race, with McConnell facing the toughest fight of his career. The two have already raised a combined $32 million for the race, and some, including Yarmuth, have predicted total spending on the fight to top $100 million by November.

The race, Yarmuth predicted, will ultimately come down to turnout, because McConnell is widely unpopular and “people who could vote for him aren’t necessarily enthusiastic about it.”