Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7 roundup: No joint appearance yet; Grimes hits on mine safety; Politico steady on McConnell chances

A near miss by the candidates, and a miss by an editorial . . .
  • The candidates missed an opportunity for their first joint appearance and didn't encounter each other as they rode in the big July 4 parade in Campbellsville. Alison Lundergan Grimes spoke briefly at an opening ceremony that Sen. Mitch McConnell did not attend, and her campaign said today he was "running scared" and "backed out" of the appearance. The latter quote came from Ronnie Ellis's story for Community Newspaper Holdings. He said McConnell cited a scheduling conflict, and a campaign spokeswoman "wouldn’t provide any details about his earlier schedule." We checked the list of speakers for the event at 1:45 p.m. the day before; McConnell was not on it.
  • The Grimes campaign said its opposition "refused to say whether Mitch McConnell supports current legislation to improve mine safety or help coal miners receive much-needed black lung benefits," citing a Sunday story in The Courier-Journal that said "The senator’s campaign did not respond to a question about whether the senator supports either bill" sponsored by West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller and supported by Grimes. (McConnell's official spokesman said the last coal-mine safety law, passed eight years ago, hadn't been in effect long enough to gauge its effects and pass more legislation.)
  • The McConnell campaign circulated an editorial by The Paducah Sun calling Grimes an "acolyte" of President Obama. As its first example, the editorial cited her hosting of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and their "support for legislation that would allow students to refinance student loan debt at lower rates and force the wealthy to pay for it. We suppose that's her idea of giving students a lesson in personal responsibility -- make someone else pay my obligations." That misstates what Warren's bill would do; it would allow refinancing of student loans "at the lower interest rates that kicked in for new borrowers last summer, which would be financed by closing tax loopholes for millionaires, the so-called Buffett rule," reported Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post.
  • Here's Politico's latest take on the race, written by James Hohmann: "McConnell is very vulnerable, with dangerously low approval and high negatives that belie the state’s Republican lean in federal elections. . . . Grimes has shown she can raise a lot of money, but it’s unclear whether she can hold her own against the wily McConnell in debates and on the stump. Grimes ... benefits from not being in Congress: She didn’t vote for Obamacare and can run as an outsider against a three-decade incumbent. Grimes has distanced herself from the new coal regulations, though she took heat for not broaching the issue during a fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last month. But it’s a tall order for any Democratic challenger to win in the Bluegrass State in this climate." The publication continues to rank Kentucky the seventh most likely state to switch party control of a Senate seat. (Read more)

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