Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) campaigns for U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (L) with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (C) during a rally on Oct. 21, 2014 in Paducah, Ky.
Win McNamee/Getty

New hope for Alison Lundergan Grimes?


Alison Lundergan Grimes is no longer being left to fend for herself. 

In a vote of confidence for her chances to unseat Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has decided to return to Kentucky airwaves on her behalf. Politico first reported the DSCC investment of $650,000. A party official confirmed the spending to msnbc, saying the committee believes the race has tightened and undecided voters are breaking for Grimes. 

After the initial DSCC decision to back out of the race about a week ago, a Kentucky strategist told msnbc, “There’s nothing on the ground that would validate this foolish decision.” A Bluegrass poll released on October 20 found the race to be basically tied.

Also on Wednesday, the McConnell campaign was out with an advertisement that seeks to defuse Grimes’ attacks that his policies are hostile to women, particularly on his votes against the Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The ad features young women accusing Grimes of believing that women are dependent on government: “that I couldn’t get a job unless Washington passed more laws.”

Another woman adds, ”She thinks I’ll vote for the candidate who looks like me, rather than the one that represents me.” It’s an ironic message considering other Republican candidates have responded to Democrats’ “war on women” attacks by simply pointing out that they are women on the ticket, rather than focusing on policy. Terri Lynn Land, running for Senate in Michigan, ran an ad saying Democrats “want you to believe that I’m waging war on women. Really? Think about that for a moment.” Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch recently said to the Washington Post of her race alongside Wisconsin governor Scott Walker: “You see I’m a woman, right? And I’m on the ticket.” 

Unlike previous surveys, the Kentucky Bluegrass poll found men and women to be equally divided between McConnell and Grimes, with no gender gap in either direction, despite the fact that more men tend to break for Republicans and women for Democrats. Previous surveys in Kentucky have found such a gap. 

Meanwhile, the Clinton political machine has also thrown its weight behind Grimes, with President Bill Clinton appearing at two rallies on her behalf this week. While Grimes has remained coy about whether she voted for President Barack Obama, she has put the 42nd president front-and-center in her campaign, featuring him prominently in an ad that began airing this month.

“Nobody can tell me it’s not a senator’s job to create jobs,” he says in the Grimes video. “I choose Alison because she will work with people in both parties to do what’s right for you.”