Web wars start early in crucial 2014 Senate battle

MGN Online
Friday, July 5, 2013 - 8:32pm

The first website dedicated to Alison Lundergan Grimes' Democratic challenge to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had no connection to the candidate. Instead it belonged to the GOP.

Two days after Kentucky's secretary of state announced Monday that she would launch a bid to take on the five-term senator, GrimesForSenate.org went up online, courtesy of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

But now, at the end of the week, Grimes is up with her own campaign website: AlisonForKy.com.

And if you needed more proof that the strategy by the McConnell campaign and national Republicans is to tie Grimes to President Barack Obama, who lost Kentucky by 23 percentage points in last November's election, just check out the website. It showcases photos of Grimes and the president with an "Alison Grimes Senate" logo in the middle of the screen.

The site goes on to claim that "Grimes is a Rubber Stamp for Barack Obama and National Democrats" and questions whether she's ready to lead.

"The fact is that Ms. Lundergan Grimes is ill-equipped, ill-prepared and just isn't ready for this position," says NRSC spokesman Brook Hougesen, in an email to reporters.

The Grimes campaign says that Monday's announcement was not an official campaign rollout.

"Alison was simply announcing her intentions to run. I'm certain when we do our rollout, you will see that this will be a top tier campaign and we will have the most professional organization in the state," Grimes senior political adviser Jonathan Hurst told CNN earlier this week.

Tuesday, on her personal Twitter page, Grimes tweeted "Let's move KY forward! Follow us here for our official filing and rollout in the coming days."

Friday, Grimes' website went up online. It allows users to sign up for news and updates and to make contributions to the campaign.

Grimes, 34, a Lexington attorney who cruised to victory in 2011 as Kentucky secretary of state, is the daughter of a former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman with close ties to former President Bill Clinton.

Even before she announced her candidacy Monday, Grimes had already come under attack in an ad from a pro-McConnell independent group that called her "Obama's cheerleader in Kentucky."

McConnell, 71, is infamous for taking the attack to his political opponents, and he quickly welcomed Grimes to the race by linking her to the president.

"Accepting the invitation from countless Washington liberals to become President Obama's Kentucky candidate was a courageous decision by Alison Lundergan Grimes," McConnell said Monday in a statement.

At a news conference announcing her decision, Grimes said the attacks by McConnell and his allies were a sign McConnell fears "losing his 30 year grip on power."

The contest between McConnell and Grimes could end up being the most expensive and nasty 2014 Senate race in the country.


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