Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell isn’t known to be a warm and fuzzy person. Unlike many elite politicians he doesn’t have a knack for appearing relatable to the average voter.
More fitting adjectives for the Senate Republican leader that come to mind are guarded, brusque and ruthlessly calculating. His approval rating is underwater in Kentucky, according to a recent Bluegrass Poll.
So the 30-year incumbent, who’s aspiring to be majority leader, is out with a pair of television ads trying to humanize him as a regular Joe in the final days of his tough reelection fight.
In one of the ads, he’s seen laughing and mingling with man identified as Chef Woody Moore of Louisville. “How did I get to know Mitch McConnell? Simple. He got to know me,” a smiling Moore says in what appears to be a deli. “He’s been a regular in my deli counter for years.”
Moore says McConnell always asks about his family, “especially my mom” and the two talk about “sports, the economy, and…”
“And dinner,” says a chuckling McConnell, joining the frame.
In another ad, McConnell shrugs off slick commercial ideas from professionals and ends up surrounding by a bunch of dogs, laughing and saying he fights for Kentucky.
The aim of the ads is obvious. McConnell has been pilloried — first by his Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin, now by Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes — as an out-of-touch incumbent who’s been in Washington for too long to know or care what ordinary Kentuckians think. It’s one of his core weaknesses.
McConnell isn’t out of the woods just yet, even though the fundamentals favor him. Recent polls have found the race to be statistically tied or showing the Republican with a narrow lead. He leads by 2.7 percentage points in the TPM PollTracker average.