Skip to comments.Unlikely allies target McConnell's personality, campaign style
Posted on 07/28/2013 4:03:47 AM PDT by onyx
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Matt Bevin may become unlikely allies in trying to tear down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the marquee Senate race of the upcoming cycle.
Both are signaling plans to frame McConnell with similar themes, targeting his personality and "scorched earth" campaign style as much as his policy positions.
The strategy reflects what his opponents believe to be his greatest vulnerability McConnell's deep unpopularity among Kentucky voters of both parties.
But it's also a strategy informed by the challenges Grimes and Bevin face in trying to defeat what many observers agree to be one of the shrewdest politicians in the nation.
Grimes, running in a state that went for Mitt Romney with more than 60 percent of the vote, will have a tough time on the issues. She'll have to hope her personal appeal can counteract voters' uneasiness with her party affiliation, and creating a clear personal contrast with McConnell will help her do that.
And Bevin is playing a turnout game: He'll need to rally enthusiastic supporters around him, and hope McConnell backers stay home on primary day. Emerging as the likeable candidate, with a compelling personal story he has nine children and served in the military up against an unappealing incumbent will help him make that happen.
The attacks on McConnell's character came even before the race got off to its official start, with various Kentucky Democrats taking shots at the Senate minority leader over the past six months.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) called McConnell "Dr. Doom" at one point, and prominent Kentucky Democratic donor Nathan Smith told The Hill early in the race that Democrats have got to decide whos gonna take on Darth Vader."
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) put it perhaps the most bluntly when he said, at a Kentucky Democratic Party fundraising dinner, "Mitch McConnell sucks."
Grimes and Bevin both have characterized him as a "bully," and Grimes hammered McConnell in a web video announcing her official campaign kickoff for blocking legislation "out of spite. Bevin, upon launching his bid, slammed McConnell as a slash and burn politician who isnt man enough to stand on his record."
Though the two candidates are attacking from different ends of the political spectrum, their similar focus is due to the fact that McConnell is facing an electorate disappointed with government and unhappy with the candidate.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky said its no coincidence that both candidates are touching on similar themes, as they get at the heart of what Kentucky voters believe about McConnell that hes a creature of Washington, and emblematic of all its problems.
I think both lines of attack fade into what Kentucky voters already think about Mitch McConnell, which is that he's the embodiment of what Kentucky voters don't like about Washington, he said.
A Bevin adviser agreed, suggesting that Bevins characterization of McConnell as not being man enough to stand on his principles was as much about his politics as his personality.
The way he votes and his politics are tied to the fact that he is not motivated by principles, he is not motivated by whats best for Kentucky, he's motivated by this desperate need to retain political power, the adviser said.
Jonathan Hurst, a spokesman for Grimes, said McConnells poor standing in the polls was as much a reflection of the dissatisfaction with Washington as it is distaste for McConnell.
Washington is unpopular, and Senator McConnell is a leader in Washington, so he owns this dysfunction, Hurst said.
But Hurst said that, despite the millions McConnell and his allies have spent trying to lower his negatives, the fact that theyre still so persistently high indicates he has a serious problem in Kentucky.
While the most recent survey of the race, conducted by Republican firm Wenzel Strategies, indicates McConnell is actually viewed favorably by 53 percent of voters, a higher proportion feel strongly negative about him than the proportion that feels strongly positive.
Ensuring those who have a very unfavorable view of McConnell turn out in a similar proportion on Election Day will be key to victory for his opponents, and continued negative attacks on his character will help animate them.
Previous polls, conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, have shown McConnell to be deeply unpopular in Kentucky, with one posting his approval rating in the state as low as President Obama's.
McConnell has been in Washington D.C. too long. That’s the bottom line, truth or not the impression we get here is that he is now owned by the lobbyist’s and the establishment in D.C.
And the true test of that statement won’t be apparent to everyone until he is forced out of the Senate. Why? If he stays in D.C. to become a Lobbyist himself, or if he returns to Kentucky to work here. The choices he makes will tell the tale.
So let’s find out for sure by removing him from the Senate.
FRESH BLOOD.....STRONG FRESH BLOOD is what we need......
McConnell is functionally a Democrat
who plays a ‘meek, old, passive, docile GOPe’.
He has led America directly to its death
before our disbelieving eyes, as he has
supported Obama and Reid.
Are we talking about McConnell the Courageous, or some other McConnell?
What about Matt Bevin?
How are his chances?
“what about Bevin”
Don’t know much about him but if he has any
Tea Party type credentials he should be competitive. All about money and you know the RNC money will all go to Mitch.
Rand Paul needs to just give Mitch the bare minimum of support.
Matt Bevin is willing to use his own money and DeMint and Heritage are looking closely at supporting Bevin.
I think that would be most helpful.
God bless and keep you.
Primarying McConnell would be the strongest possible message from the base to the GOPe: “We’ve had it with you. Shape up or polish your resume.”
McConnell is not going to support Sen Lee's efforts to defund Obamacare in the CR.
Correct, and yet, Rand Paul will support McConnell anyway..
The Kentucky doughboy having trouble getting re-elected? Say it ain’t so!
1) INFERIOR BIOLOGICAL INFESTATION
2) SUB-HUMAN PROTOPLASM