The cancer survivor who served as the subject of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFEC flags McConnell campaign over suspected accounting errors Poll: 59 percent think president elected in November should name next Supreme Court justice Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in 'promptly' MORE’s (R-Ky.) first major TV ad is now slamming Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for, what he says, is a disrespectful response to the ad.


Robert Pierce, a Paducah energy worker and throat cancer survivor, praised McConnell in an ad released earlier this week for his efforts to secure cancer screenings and compensation for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant workers.

Lundergan Grimes’s campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton pointed out that the new ad was an update of one McConnell ran in 2008, where he touted the same efforts for the same workers but without Pierce as a spokesman. She said it was “insulting to Kentuckians for McConnell to haul out this old, dishonest play every six years when he's on the ballot.”

But, in a statement shared first with The Hill and issued Friday, Pierce criticized those comments.

“When the Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign says my story was dishonest and recycled, it's a bit of a slap in the face to the people who are sick, and the people who will get sick in the future,” said Pierce. “The program didn't end in 2008 and cancer doesn't operate around election cycles, which is why I'm grateful that Senator McConnell is working to help us every day."

The original ad from the Senate minority leader was meant to humanize McConnell and highlight one way he’s used his power in Washington to help Kentuckians.

Democrats believe the Kentucky Senate race is one of their best opportunities for a pickup this cycle. McConnell is also facing a challenger from the right in businessman Matt Bevin.

Democrats have hammered McConnell on the perception he’s out of touch with Kentucky and only concerned with his own welfare in Congress. They believe his unpopularity in the state could be his undoing.

But by using surrogates like Pierce — McConnell’s also had his wife speak on his behalf in campaign ads, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has praised him — the McConnell campaign is hoping to blunt some of those attacks and create a human connection with voters.