Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Roundup: Women's issues rage; National Review hits Lundergan; Libertarian says he'll file; UMW plans ads

After a one-day breather, the race roars again, mostly about women's issues:
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell started a 30-second television commercial in which his wife, Elaine Chao, does all the talking: "Have you ever noticed how some liberals feel entitled to speak on behalf of all women? As if every woman agrees with Barack Obama? Alison Lundergan Grimes' gender-based attacks are desperate and false." (Grimes is running an ad in which a woman asks McConnell, "Why did you vote two times against the Violence Against Women Act?") In McConnell's ad, Chao is followed by a female narrator saying he co-sponsored the original law and has "always supported its purpose. Mitch voted for even stronger protections than Obama's agenda will allow." Chao returns to conclude the ad, saying "Alison, supporting the Obama agenda isn't pro-woman; it's anti-Kentucky."
  • Grimes's campaign responded to the new ad: "Simply saying ‘I’m married to a woman’ doesn’t speak loud enough. Your actions and record over 30 years in Washington indicate where and how you will stand up for women." The campaign cited McConnell's two votes against the latest version of the act, which expanded it to include same-sex couples and immigrants and allowed tribal courts to try non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence on reservations. It also noted other McConnell votes mentioned in the Grimes ad: against a 2012 bill to strengthen the Paycheck Fairness Act and against the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Act, which extended the time for women to file pay-discrimination suits to 180 days after their last paycheck. McConnell "supported a failed amendment that would have started the 180-day statute of limitation clock from 'the date when the person aggrieved has, or should be expected to have, enough information to support a reasonable suspicion of such discrimination'," FactCheck.org noted in a detailed analysis of the Grimes ad last week.
  • Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader began his story on the ad, "Just days after Democrats scrambled to disavow a political consultant’s comments about the ethnicity of former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, she is starring in a new ad on behalf of her husband." He ended it this way: "Chao, who came to the U.S. in the hull of a freighter ship at age 8, is making her television debut in the general election after a Kentucky Democratic operative came under fire for posting on Twitter about Chao’s Asian heritage. Kathy Groob, the founder of a pro-Grimes Democratic super PAC who attended a Grimes event in Northern Kentucky with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in February, said Saturday on Twitter that by bringing Chao into the race, her ethnicity is 'fair game' to criticize. The Kentucky Democratic Party denounced the comments, and Groob deleted them."
  • Also on women's issues, Eliana Johnson of the conservative magazine National Review suggests that Grimes's father, Jerry Lundergan, is a misogynist or sexist, noting that he "owns with his brothers the restaurant Hugh Jass Burgers, where a few menu items make reference to the women in his family: 'Charlotte’s Rack' is a rack of ribs named after Lundergan’s wife, Charlotte, and 'Abby’s Hugh Jass' is a hamburger named after his daughter." (He has five.) "'The Tiny Tush' [is] a smaller burger described as '6 ounces of juicy deliciousness.' I have a feeling Grimes might find that degrading and offensive."
  • "Harrodsburg police officer David Patterson said he will file Monday to join Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race as a Libertarian," reports Jack Brammer of the Herald-Leader. Patterson has to present 5,000 signatures of registered Kentucky voters by Aug. 12 to get on the Nov. 4 ballot. "Ken Moellman, state chairman of the Libertarian Party, said Tuesday that a signature drive for Patterson has collected more than 9,000 signatures," Brammer reports. "Patterson said in a news release that he will be in the race to win and not to take votes from any particular candidate."
  • "The United Mine Workers of America endorsed Grimes over the weekend and is planning an undisclosed amount of advertising this fall in Eastern Kentucky, where animosity runs high toward President Barack Obama and his policies on coal," reports Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal. Steve Earle, an international vice president of the union and its Kentucky political director, told Wynn, "This is going to be a game changer for this race, particularly in Eastern Kentucky. Our people bloc vote, and we figure we are worth about 20,000 votes." The union represents no Eastern Kentucky miners but has thousands of retirees in the region.
  • Paul Kane of The Washington Post explores McConnell's relationship with his more popular junior colleague: "Four years ago, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell seemed ripe to loathe one another as colleagues in the Senate. Now, against all odds, it’s difficult to find any state with senators whose local and national ambitions are so interlocked, so compatible, and whose senior aides work so hand-in-hand in pursuit of both men’s agenda." (Read more)

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