Senate races

Kentucky Senate candidates trade barbs at rowdy Fancy Farms picnic

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kicked off the 2014 campaign season at Kentucky’s rowdy Fancy Farms picnic and wasted no time personally attacking his likely Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. 

{mosads}“I want to say how nice it is to see Jerry Lundergan back in the game,”
he opened his remarks at the
133rd annual event. “Like the loyal Democrat he is, he’s taking orders from the
Obama campaign on how to run his daughter’s campaign.”

McConnell said the senior Lundergan, who worked for Hillary’s Clinton’s
2008 presidential campaign, was framing his daughter’s candidacy as a
boon to women in Kentucky, even while he donated to the campaign of
embattled New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who has admitted
to sending lewd photos to women online.

It was a risky move by McConnell and it seemed to be on the precipice
of backfiring. The estimated 2,000 at the politically charged picnic
have a tradition of shouting insults at and heckling the speakers, and
the attack charged Grimes’s supporters, who broke into chants of “we
want Grimes” that nearly drowned out the senator.

Dressed down in a blue shirt and khakis beneath ceiling fans
in the open-air venue, McConnell regained control by focusing his
attacks on Washington Democrats, denouncing Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D) as a “Nevada yes-man for Barack Obama.”

“Kentucky’s voice is often the voice of opposition to the Obama agenda
and I’m proud of that,” McConnell said. “That’s why every liberal in
America is out to beat us next year.”

“The liberals are worried because, just as I predicted, ObamaCare is a
disaster for America,” he continued. “I fought them every step of the
way, every step of the way on the government takeover, and we stand up
to their war on coal. Look, as long as I’m in the Senate, Kentucky
will have a voice instead of San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard.”

McConnell also flexed his political muscles, reminding the crowd of
the value of his leadership position in the Senate.

“You can’t get [political influence] from the back-bench,” he said.
“That’s why it’s very important to keep Kentucky’s voice strong. We’re
not just choosing whose going to represent Kentucky in the Senate,
we’re going to decide whose going to run the Senate.”

In her speech, Grimes focused almost entirely on McConnell and framed
him as a creature of Washington who had outserved his usefulness to

She took the stage in a red summer dress competing with chants of “we
want Mitch,” but her supporters soon overpowered the Republicans in
the crowd as she unleashed a series of blistering attacks against the
Senate minority leader.

“Let’s tell it like it is,” Grimes said. “If the doctors told Sen.
McConnell he had a kidney stone, he wouldn’t pass it.”

Grimes also took a shot at Tea Party favorite and junior Kentucky Sen.
Rand Paul (R), who wasn’t in attendance.

“I know Sen. McConnell believes I’m not right for this job, because
unlike him I haven’t spent 30 years in Washington,” the Kentucky
secretary of state said. “But do I really need to apologize for having
more government experience than Rand Paul?”

The Democratic upstart, who is tied with McConnell in some recent
polls, hammered McConnell for his low approval rating and legislative
struggles in the Senate, saying he’s presided over a GOP that stands
for “Gridlock Obstruction and Partisanship.”

“Recent polls show he’s the most unpopular senator, among not just
Democrats, but Republicans as well,” she said. “So after all these
years at least he’s kept one campaign promise – to keep both our
parties coming together.”

McConnell didn’t only have to deal with attacks from Grimes. Matt
Bevin, the Tea Party candidate challenging him in the Republican primary, barely
mentioned Grimes because, he said, “she and I will have ample
opportunity next year on this stage when this guy’s gone.”

Bevin slammed McConnell for leaving the event early, accusing him of
having “scurried away,” and inviting his family on stage while he
spoke since McConnell “made room for us by leaving.”

“Where’s Mitch?” Bevin got the crowd to chant. “The people of
Kentucky have been wondering that for quite a while now.”

Bevin’s rhetoric was harsh. He runs a manufacturing company that produces bells that his supporters rang at the picnic. He said McConnell seemed confused by the chimes.

“Ask not for whom the bells toll, they toll for you,” Bevin said.
“Because the people of Kentucky have had enough. They toll for you
because the people of Kentucky have had enough of the amnesty, of the
bailouts…while small Kentucky farms get nothing.”

Bevin blasted McConnell for not backing a petition spearheaded by Sen.
Mike Lee (R-Utah) and supported by a dozen other Republican senators
to shutdown the government to block funds for ObamaCare.

“Stand with Sen. Mike Lee. Be a man!,” he shouted. “Stand up and put
your money where your mouth is.”

If the annual politically charged picnic in rural western Kentucky on
Saturday is any indication, McConnell will be fighting for his
political life in 2014.

Tags Barack Obama Harry Reid Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Rand Paul

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