IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

McConnell has trouble finding enthusiastic women voters

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell claims he is the real champion of women. But his new ad appealing to them has some holes in it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R) confers with an aide after speaking at a campaign rally Oct. 22, 2014 in Grayson, Ky.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R) confers with an aide after speaking at a campaign rally Oct. 22, 2014 in Grayson, Ky.

In his hotly contested race to keep his Kentucky Senate seat, Republican Mitch McConnell has found himself in some unusual positions recently. He's depicted himself, a 30-year veteran of the Senate, as an ordinary guy at the deli counter; he's moderated his language on the Affordable Care Act; and, perhaps most awkward of all, has cast himself as a champion of women. That message was recently delivered in a television ad by several young women, who claimed McConnell was the real pro-woman candidate, not his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"McConnell’s staff found four people to appear in the ad who actually believe this?" wrote msnbc's Steve Benen, pointing to McConnell's votes against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, as well as to undermine contraceptive access.

It's technically true the McConnell campaign found four people who are young women to express enthusiasm for him in a video. But at least one of them is registered to vote in Pennsylvania, as The New York Times reported last week. That's not all: msnbc has learned that the same woman, Dallas A. Knierman, 20, has never voted in any election, and has not requested an absentee ballot for this election, according to a Mercer County official whose confirmation was pointed to msnbc by the Grimes campaign. 

"(Knierman) was legally registered on Aug. 2, 2012, but has never voted in our county. She has not applied for an absentee ballot this election and today is the last day to apply," Jeff Greenburg, Mercer County director of elections, wrote on Tuesday.

RELATED: Kentucky women to McConnell: Shame on you

Pennsylvania has a contested governor's race this year, along with local races.

Knierman says in the video of Grimes, “she wants me to believe that strong women and strong values are incompatible,’’ presumably a nod to social conservatism. msnbc reached out to Knierman for comment but has not received a response. 

 In response to word of Knierman's registration in Pennsylvania, McConnell’s campaign manager, Josh Holmes told The New York Times, “Obviously as a college student she hasn’t changed her registration from where she grew up but that doesn’t make her any less qualified to speak as a young woman who lives in Kentucky.” The campaign did adjust how Knierman is identified; she went from "Kentucky woman" to "Louisville student." 

Of course, it's not about Knierman's personal voting behavior as much as the fact that the ad's backstory undermines the sincerity of McConnell's claim to have enthusiastic young women in his corner. If that's true, why was it so hard to find four of them who are Kentucky voters, or even voters at all?