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Grimes’s grandmother stars in Medicare ad

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is launching an emotional minutelong ad featuring her grandmother to hit Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Medicare.

But McConnell’s deep warchest has enabled him to respond to his opponent’s ads almost in real-time, and his campaign launched, just hours later, a new ad featuring an elderly Kentucky couple touting the senator’s work to sort out their Medicare benefits.

{mosads}In Grimes’ ad, Grimes and her grandmother Elsie tell the story of how her grandfather had a stroke, which Elsie says, “just took everything away.”

As photos of Elsie and her husband from their youth flash on the screen, Grimes says her grandfather “was a proud man who didn’t want to ask for help, but they needed it,” to tackle the medical bills.

“We scrimped and saved but suddenly our finances were going to medical bills,” Elsie says.

She adds: “Our life became something else — no more vacations, no retirement, just existing.”

Grimes concludes the ad by knocking McConnell for voting “over and over again to raise seniors’ Medicare costs.”

“I’ll never do that,” she promises.

McConnell’s spokeswoman, Allison Moore, slammed Grimes for the ad, calling it a “totally debunked partisan attack on Senator McConnell from an increasingly desperate Alison Grimes.”

“Anyone who would use their grandfather’s stroke to reintroduce an attack that received the triple crown of fact check false ratings has run out of justification for their candidacy,” she said in a statement.

And the senator released his own ad pushing back on the claims, featuring Hasque and Pansy Williams of London, Ky. telling how, “with a mix-up in paperwork, Medicare wasn’t paying our bills,” and they were threatened by bill collectors. The couple says they reached out to McConnell about the issue and “with his experience, you bet — they listened,” Pansy says.

“Mitch got this mess sorted out for us,” Hasque adds, and Pansy declares, “Mitch fought for us and gave us peace of mind.”

McConnell’s new ad is airing statewide, as is Grimes’ ad, with a significant six-figure statewide buy, according to her campaign.

The choice to air a minute-long ad statewide is an unusual move because of the typically steep cost to air a full sixty seconds on television, but it’s an indication Grimes is bringing out the big guns as a long series of polls have shown her trailing McConnell by significant margins.

Her grandmother was a popular and effective figure in her first run for Kentucky secretary of State, and an ad featuring both Elsie and her now-passed grandmother Thelma helped her gain traction during that race.

Though seen as one of Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents, McConnell has been helped by a difficult political climate for Democrats, driven by deep dissatisfaction with President Obama, and a number of missteps from Grimes’s campaign.

On Wednesday, Republicans slammed her for holding a fundraiser at which billionaire Warren Buffett was billed to speak via conference call. Republicans questioned why Grimes was associating with Buffett, as one of his companies is moving its plant out of Kentucky and with it, hundreds of jobs. Grimes’s campaign later said that, contrary to what the invitation to the event said, Buffett was not scheduled to speak.

—This piece was updated with McConnell’s response to Grimes’ new ad.

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