The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

May 24, 2014

Senate campaign already in full bloom

FRANKFORT — Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.

Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.

McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.

McConnell is known for aggressive campaigns and defining opponents negatively. Normally, he’s disparaging Democrats, not fellow Republicans. For McConnell, it’s not personal. When the campaign is over, it’s over in his mind.

But it seems to be personal to Bevin. To some degree he has himself to blame for cooperating with McConnell’s efforts to paint him as less than credible by mishandling multiple controversies. But he doesn’t see it that way, and he is genuinely hurt by some of the things said about him. So are many of his supporters.

But if it’s never been personal for McConnell, his comments Tuesday night about Barack Obama — against whom McConnell prefers to campaign than against Grimes — sure sounded personal.

Those watching on television could see McConnell’s eyes following the lines on the teleprompter — but they also could hear the undisguised disdain in his voice. His anecdotes about “Obamacare” featured only women, an acknowledgment McConnell has work to do with women.

Later, Grimes spoke to her supporters, demonstrating her skills on the stump have improved significantly since she began her 10-day, 50-county bus tour. Grimes was equally forceful and impressive.

Whereas McConnell rarely mentions an opponent by name, Grimes very often addresses McConnell directly.

“Sen. McConnell, this race is between you and me,” she said, looking directly into the camera.

As obviously as McConnell wants to nationalize the race and make it about a president unpopular in Kentucky, Grimes wants it to be about McConnell.

She knows McConnell’s poll numbers are awful for an incumbent. She also knows McConnell’s message about Obama, coal and Harry Reid resonate in eastern Kentucky where Democrats used to be reliable votes.

She has to be at least a bit concerned that her margins in coal-producing counties, while still over 60 percent, didn’t match her statewide margin of 76 percent.

She’s begun to address the issue in nearly every speech and now in her latest television ad. She says she’ll not answer to any president but to the people of Kentucky.

She also subtly reminded voters Tuesday night that the next president might be her friend Hillary Clinton.

That does a couple of things: the Clintons are popular in Kentucky and Grimes would have easy access to her to lobby on behalf of Kentucky coal.

She’s also begun another tack — she reminds her crowds that the lost coal jobs and the increased regulations occurred while Mitch McConnell has been Kentucky’s senator.

That won’t move the Kentucky Coal Association, which doesn’t formally endorse candidates but has been pretty clear about which candidate it prefers.

Grimes ally and coal supporter Greg Stumbo points out the KCA is primarily made up of “the guys at the top,” not the “miners who lost their jobs.” Those are the people Grimes must persuade.

Expect to see more from people like Harlan County magistrate David Kennedy who is featured in a Grimes video talking about McConnell’s failure to bring jobs to the region.

Look for her as well to copy Stumbo in suggesting McConnell should have tried harder to win concessions for Kentucky’s coal industry from the president rather than simply obstructing anything sought by Obama.

Fancy Farm traditionally kicks off campaign season in Kentucky. Not this year. It’s already in full swing.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • 06.29 CrystalFarewell.jpg Starting over at Head Start

    All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
    I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ike Adams They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days

    I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
    At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
    I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth

    When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
    Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate

    Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
    His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Senate campaign already in full bloom

    Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
    Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
    McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG ‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’

    What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
    Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association

    Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
    Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Hitting the campaign trail

    The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
    We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
    McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case of the scary black cat

    If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
    Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.

    May 10, 2014

  • Ike Adams Basking in the spring sunshine

    If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
    I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.

    May 8, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results