Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE's (R-Ky.) campaign is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to join his bus tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at his events.
In an email sent earlier this month and obtained by The Hill, Taylor Bumgardner, a Kentucky Republican Party regional political director, offers volunteers the opportunity to join McConnell on his tour, which launched Monday. Meals, lodging and transportation are included in the trip.
"Senator McConnell is seeking volunteers to join him on a 3-day campaign bus tour around the state on October 20-22 to show our support for Kentucky coal. You would join local supporters in contributing to an enthusiastic atmosphere at each of his events," she wrote.
Bussing in supporters isn't a new tactic for McConnell, who has done it to fill out crowds during his previous appearances at the annual Fancy Farm picnic. Democrats have derided the move, however, as a sign of low enthusiasm for the Republican.
They again charged McConnell's move to bus in supporters suggested momentum is headed in Grimes' favor.
"It should surprise no one that Mitch McConnell is left to purchase grassroots support after he and his allies have spent more than $50 million running from his failed 30-year record in Washington. Momentum is clearly on Alison's side as she draws record-breaking crowds of Kentuckians and runs laps around McConnell's rusted DC-based campaign," said Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon.
His Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, tends to draw strong crowds, and Democrats have touted the size and energy of her events as evidence she's drawing enthusiastic support from Kentuckians. Still, recent polls of the race have suggested McConnell is opening up a slim but solid lead over his challenger.
Neither the Kentucky GOP nor McConnell's campaign responded to request for comment.
—This piece was updated to correct the statement that Grimes bussed in supporters to Fancy Farm, which she did not.