Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 5, 2013

RONNIE ELLIS: Will Democrats rally around Grimes?



That’s the core of McConnell’s strategy. He knows he’s not loved and can’t win on voters’ affection or approval. He has to raise his opponent’s negatives higher than his own. He – and outside groups supporting him – will flood the airwaves with negative ads. He’ll run as much against Obama as against Grimes.

Grimes needs her party’s help to fight back. She’ll receive financial help from outside Kentucky. But will Kentucky Democrats raise money for Grimes and will they put their own prestige on the line by publicly campaigning for her?

Will Gov. Steve Beshear go all out for Grimes, the daughter of his longtime nemesis Jerry Lundergan? It’s hard to think of any Democrat who should want more to take out McConnell than Beshear, who was “be-sheared” by McConnell in the 1996 U.S. Senate race. Helping Democrats hold onto the state House and beat McConnell would burnish his party legacy.

Beshear’s campaigns relied on contributions from the coal industry which has received most favored status treatment from his Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Will he now lobby the industry for Grimes now that she is running for Senate and not preparing for a 2015 race for Attorney General, a job Beshear’s son, Andy, apparently wants? There was a time when Kentucky’s Democratic governors would go all out to defeat a powerful Republican who has rubbed Democrats’ noses in their own ineffectiveness. But I’m not sure those kinds of Democrats are still around.

Those Democrats were economic populists, friends of the little man as they would’ve put it. That would also seem a promising strategy for Grimes to employ against McConnell’s influence argument. She might want to ask average Kentuckians just what his influence has done to make their lives better.

Grimes answered Democrats’ pleas. Now we’ll find out how badly those Democrats want her to win.

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.


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