Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grimes was short and not sweet in her concession

By Brenton Ward
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes kept her remarks brief Tuesday night as she conceded the U.S. Senate election to incumbent Mitch McConnell. 

Grimes did not mention or congratulate McConnell in her three-minute speech, instead using her last appearance of the race to repeat the issues she had hoped to take to with her to Washington.

“My hope is that a message has been sent to Congress, that we need to work to increase the minimum wage, to close the gender pay gap, and bring good paying jobs back to the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” she said.

On stage with her husband and Gov. Steve Beshear, Grimes tried to elevate a clearly unenthusiastic crowd of about 200 people outside The Carrick House in downtown Lexington.

“While tonight didn’t bring us the result that we had hoped for, this journey, the fight for you -- it was worth it,” Grimes said. She added later, “This fight was for each and every one of you, and I will work my hardest to keep this amazing organization that we have built together intact to fight for a brighter and better future.”

Grimes has served as Kentucky’s secretary of state since 2012, defeating a Democrat whom Gov. Steve Beshear appointed to fill a vacancy, then easily winning the general election. She became the Democratic nominee for Senate after receiving 77 percent of the votes in a four-way primary with token opponents.

Grimes called McConnell to concede within the first hour after polls had closed in Western Kentucky. The Associated Press called the election for McConnell minutes after those closings. He went on to receive 56.2 percent of the vote to 40.7 percent for Grimes and 3.1 percent for Libertarian David Patterson.

While running on the Democratic ticket, Grimes went to great lengths to distance herself from President Obama, going so far as refusing to say whether or not she voted for the president in 2008 and 2012.  McConnell’s campaign often tied Grimes to Obama in speeches and advertisements.

Grimes said she disagreed with Obama’s coal and gun policies, and was endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America and other labor unions, as well as Kentucky’s largest newspapers, The Courier-Journal and The Lexington Herald-Leader.  She also brought in high-profile Democrats, primarily former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to campaign for her. 

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