In a dark new web ad, Alison Lundergan Grimes hits Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for signaling confrontation that could spark a government shutdown if he becomes majority leader.
The spot — published Monday on the Democrat’s YouTube page — plays news clips, spliced with ominous music, about the economically damaging shutdown last fall which one anchor is seen saying it was “hurting Kentuckians.”
“And Mitch McConnell wants to do it again,” the ad says, displaying headlines of McConnell’s recent remarks to Politico in which he vowed to use bills which keep the government operational as a vehicle to rein in President Barack Obama’s policies.
A Grimes spokesperson said it was a “web ad” that the campaign was spending “thousands” of dollars on as part of a week-long effort to hit McConnell on the issue.
The McConnell campaign quickly pushed back.
“Evidently Alison Lundergan Grimes’ interpretation of how the U.S. Senate works is that Senators must rubber stamp President Obama’s agenda or the government shuts down,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore told TPM in an email. “Unlike Grimes’ commitment to the Obama agenda, Senator McConnell will fight for Kentucky priorities whether the President is interested in them or not.”
In the interview last week, McConnell said, “We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy. That’s something [Obama] won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.” He said the president “needs to be challenged, and the best way to do that is through the funding process.”
Last fall the GOP’s attempts to attach unrelated policy provisions to a must-pass spending bill — namely, a “rider” to defund Obamacare — culminated in the 16-day shutdown of many federal programs. Ironically it was McConnell who eventually stepped in and cut a deal with Democrats to re-open the government.
Conservatives remain hungry for confrontation with Obama. McConnell’s comments appear to have been an attempt to mobilize the Republican base in his home state and across the country ahead of the midterm elections.
The Kentucky Senate race is close. McConnell is ahead of Grimes by 3.4 percentage points, according to the TPM PollTracker average.