Dueling ads launch to heat up Kentucky Senate race

Willie Grace | 7/8/2014, 6:33 p.m. | Updated on 7/8/2014, 6:33 p.m.
Alison Lundergan Grimes released her first statewide television ad on Tuesday in Kentucky's highly competitive Senate race, but it won't ...

Alison Lundergan Grimes released her first statewide television ad on Tuesday in Kentucky's highly competitive Senate race, but it won't be the only one Blue Grass state residents see this week.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, an outside group backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, launched an ad of its own, which questions his Democratic challenger's stance on a number of issues.

Tuesday's new releases heat up a race that has been relatively quiet since McConnell easily defeated his tea party challenger Matt Bevin in the Republican primary in May.

In the Grimes spot, "Question from Don," a retired coal miner, Don Disney, accuses McConnell of voting to "raise my Medicare costs by six thousand dollars."

"How are my wife and I supposed to afford that?" he asks the longtime senator.

After a long pause, Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State, leans into Disney and tells him, "I don't think he's going to answer that."

The accusation refers to McConnell's support for Rep. Paul Ryan's initial 2011 plan to reform Medicare, which the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said would raise out of pocket costs for seniors by over $6,000.

The Grimes campaign said Tuesday's spot, part of a six-figure, statewide buy, is the first in a "series of ads that will feature Kentuckians asking critical questions of McConnell."

On the other side, "Stands," the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition spot, highlights various print and television news reports to attack Grimes and question her position on numerous issues, including Obamacare.

"Alison Grimes. What's she hiding?" the narrator in the ad asks.

"She either doesn't know the answers or is afraid to reveal certain positions because they are out of step with Kentucky values," said Scott Jennings, senior advisor to the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition.

"Either way, sending Alison Grimes to Washington is just too risky," he added.

The outside group is spending $715,000 to air the ad on statewide broadcast and cable from Tuesday through July 16.

Kentucky's race is one of a handful that will determine which party controls the Senate next year. The Cook Political Report currently rates it as a "Toss-Up," while Rothenberg Political Report gives McConnell a slight edge.

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