Thursday, September 18, 2014

Campaign ads return to Medicare; Grimes opposes bill to arm anti-I.S. Syrians; parties send mail pieces

The ads are so thick, at times they're running back to back . . .
  • "Alison Lundergan Grimes said Thursday she would vote against arming and training Syrian forces combating the Islamic State," Phillip Bailey of WFPL reports. "The Senate is scheduled to take up a vote on the measure this afternoon . . . Grimes said in a campaign statement she backs military action but could not support the measure until trust between the U.S. and Syrian rebels is clearly established."
  • Grimes has a new one-minute TV commercial featuring her grandmother, Elsie Case, talking about how the grandfather's stroke affected her family's finances and claiming that Sen. Mitch McConnell voted to increase seniors' out-of-pocket medical costs. The McConnell campaign says the claim is false, citing fact-checkers' disputation of Grimes's first Medicare ad in July, but The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth notes, "The claim made in the ad is similar to, but not the same as the claims made in ads that were debunked by non-partisan fact checkers." The votes cited were procedural votes on budget bills.
  • McConnell responded with an ad about his help to a Laurel County constituent who was having a problem getting Medicare to pay bills.
  • Gerth examines the ads from McConnell and Grimes featuring guns. "This isn't the first time Grimes and McConnell have sparred over guns," Gerth notes. "Grimes criticized McConnell after his appearance at an NRA event in March when he walked to the lectern brandishing a musket, an award for outgoing Sen. Tom Coburn, over his head. . . . She challenged McConnell to shoot with her on a firing range — a challenge to which he never responded. McConnell has refused to say if he owns a gun." Grimes's ad tries to separate herself from President Obama, and McConnell's reply ad notes that she endorsed the Democratic Party's platform when he was its nominee. "The Grimes campaign notes that she never specifically endorsed any of the provisions and, in fact, has consistently opposed Obama on them," Gerth writes. McConnell is also running a radio ad with essentially the same message.
  • Fact-checkers have found fault with many ads, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, offering a roundup of some of their latest reports.
  • The National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee is running a campaign of 30-second television commercials promoting Sen. Mitch McConnell as "a fighter for the middle class." PACs of lobbying organizations can give only $10,000 per election cycle ($5,000 each for primary and general elections) to candidates for the Senate or House, but there is no limit on what they can spend on advertising, and a meaningful statewide TV buy costs at least $200,000 a week. For a table of all reported spending in the race, from the Center for Responsive Politics, click here. UPDATE, Sept. 20: The Realtors are also sending a direct-mail piece advocating McConnell's re-election.
  • The Kentucky Democratic Party is mailing an attack on McConnell's committee voting record ("skipped 93% of his senate committee meetings in the last five years") and his April statement that it wasn't his job to bring jobs to Lee County. (The McConnell ad that says his voting record is 99 percent was based on floor votes, not committee attendance.)
  • The Kentucky Republican Party is mailing an edited copy of Politico pages with the story about Grimes not mentioning coal at a June 9 fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The envelope includes a printed note with what appears to be McConnell's handwriting, saying, "Really sums up the whole race." The same handwriting appears on the page: "Grimes said she'd stand up for us. But she said nothing."
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka "said Wednesday Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race is a top priority for organized labor that could define the country’s direction over the next two decades." Phillip Bailey reports for WFPL.
  • Gerth writes about neo-Nazi write-in candidate Robert Randsell.

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