Alison Lundergan Grimes—Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Democratic challenger—pitched herself as a politician in the Clinton mold on Tuesday in Kentucky, while campaigning with the former president.
Grimes declared herself “a new fresh Southern face” ready to tackle a broken Washington, just like the former president did when he was elected in 1994.
“You have a Senate candidate who believes in you, who wants to help you, who wants this job for you,” Clinton declared in a emphatic endorsement. He recounted how a 14-year-old Grimes and her sisters welcomed Clinton to Washington with roses on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The big-name boost comes at a good time for Grimes, whose poll numbers have been rising for weeks. It also helps lend some of Clinton’s credibily to Grimes, a relatively fresh face on the Kentucky political scene compared to McConnell’s 29-year career in the Senate.
Tuesday’s event opened with a local, all-women a capella group—PAWS & Listen—which serenaded the crowd with feminist anthems, including a mash-up of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and “Independent Women,” and Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”
Grimes and Clinton walked on stage to Katy Perry’s hit song “Roar.”
“Especially on behalf of the women in this state, 53% of the state!” Grimes said of her music choice, though she could have been talking about her campaign strategy. The young Democrat has sought to connect and mobilize that large voter block, particular as the Republican party—and party leader McConnell—have struggled to connect with female voters.
Grimes reminded attendees that McConnell voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act twice.
“Mitch McConnell may not get it, but I get it,” she said.
She also hit McConnell hard on jobs, the economy, and his opposition to raising the federal minimum wage, promising that under her leadership, “the middle class will rise again.”
“I don’t know about you, Kentucky, but I’m not going to let any wash politician whose net worth is over $20 million tell me that increasing the minimum wage to 10.10 cents an hour is going to hurt our economy,” Grimes said.
“All this income inequality is a severe limit on growth,” Clinton said. “You look anywhere in America, you see where good hardworking people can’t make a living, or make a good income.”
Grimes came under fire earlier this week for appearing with Clinton, when Kentucky’s other Republican senator, Rand Paul, brought up the former president’s Monica Lewinsky affair scandal and noted that Grimes has recieved a donation (for $500) from filmmaker Woody Allen, who has been accused of child sex abuse.