All the Latest on Grimes/McConnell from The RP’s KY Political Review

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FRIENDS – “McConnell, Paul forge mutually beneficial alliance” by AP’s Roger Alford: “To cover his political flank, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has forged an alliance with tea party darling Rand Paul, picked up support from other national tea party leaders and brought in a campaign manager from the upper echelons of the tea party movement. The GOP’s fiscally conservative wing has proven particularly powerful in Kentucky, and elsewhere it has felled incumbents including McConnell’s longtime Republican colleague U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana. But McConnell’s efforts to make inroads with the tea party movement have clearly paid off, virtually ensuring that no would-be challenger can get the kind of infusion of cash from tea party channels that allowed Paul to win here in 2010. Paul, who has presidential aspirations and is looking to run in 2016, needs McConnell’s connections to the wealthy donor base of the Republican establishment. Meanwhile, McConnell needs Paul’s tea party influence to keep potential primary challengers at bay and to energize his general election campaign against the likely Democratic nominee, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. …

“McConnell’s new allegiances go deep into the Paul family. Jesse Benton, who married the older Paul’s granddaughter, signed on last year to lead McConnell’s re-election campaign. Benton has previously served as campaign manager and political adviser to both Pauls, and his affiliation with McConnell sends a not-so-subtle signal to would-be tea party challengers to stand down and to potential donors to support McConnell or keep their wallets in their pockets.” [AP]

PARTY FOUL – “Senate Candidates Decry Kentucky Democratic Party E-mail Promoting Alison Lundergan Grimes” by WFPL’s Phillip Bailey: “The three other Democrats running for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat are criticizing their party for promoting Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in a message to supporters. When Grimes announced earlier this week she intends to seek the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Mitch McConnell next year the state party quickly sought donations. … In a July 1 e-mail sent out by KDP finance director Jared Smith, the party says defeating McConnell “won’t be easy” and asks state Democrats to help them building a grassroots effort to “make sure Alison wins.” … But Owensboro contractor Ed Marksberry, Louisville music promoter Bennie J. Smith and U of L professor Greg Leitchy argue the message violates Democratic Party by-laws to stay out of primary elections, adding the party has effectively endorsed Grimes over them. … The party’s bylaws specifically forbid party officials from endorsing in a primary and also prohibit resources from being used unless they are made available to all candidates. … Marksberry is considering filing a lawsuit against the state party to prohibit any further action in the 2014 Senate race. ” [WFPL]

THE QUESTION – “What Role Would Coal Play in a Grimes-McConnell Senate Race?” by WFPL’s Erica Peterson: “[E]ven though both Grimes and McConnell have received support from the coal industry in the past, coal is still likely to be a major player in the campaign. Already, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a website highlighting the role coal plays in Kentucky’s economy and steps Democrats have taken to reduce the country’s reliance on coal in favor of cleaner technologies. … Over the past few years, the coal industry has mobilized supporters and voters using the “War on Coal” rhetoric (though it didn’t end up panning out during the 2012 presidential election in some key states like Ohio). A poll by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire showed that the percentage of Harlan and Letcher County residents that supported natural resource extraction grew between 2007 and 2011, and the Lexington Herald-Leader detailed the growing pro-coal sentiment in an article a few weeks ago. This means coal will likely be an issue in next year’s senate race, even if it’s between two candidates who both say they support the industry. Congressman Andy Barr managed to defeat the incumbent Ben Chandler last year, largely by tying the Blue Dog Democrat to President Obama, and McConnell’s campaign will try—and has already begun—to do the same to Grimes.” [WFPL]

WELCOME TO THE WEB : “Grimes launches website two days after GOP launches its own about her” by H-L’s Jack Brammer – “Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes launched a bare-bones campaign website Friday for the U.S. Senate — four days after she announced she would challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and two days after a Republican group posted its own website about Grimes. … The site Grimes launched Friday,, allows supporters to sign up for updates from the candidate and make a contribution. It trails the website launched Wednesday by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The GOP site tries to link Grimes with President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in Kentucky, and convince voters that Grimes is inexperienced. It seeks donations for the NRSC. … Grimes spokesman Jonathan Hurst said the NRSC was “foolish” to post a website about Grimes.” [H-L] … SEE official Grimes for Senate website []

“Grimes campaign: GOP’s fake website an attempt to deceive voters” [WHAS-TV] … SEE NRSC’s fake Grimes website [] … McConnell’s campaign has also developed its own fake Grimes site,

DAYS UNTIL : Fancy Farm 2013: 26 … Next fundraising deadline: 84 … Primary Election filing deadline: 204 … Fancy Farm 2014: 390 … Ky. 2014 Primary Election day: 316 … 2014 General Election day: 484


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