A top campaign advisor to Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, scoffed at the notion McConnell is “invincible” in a new memo set to be released Friday.
The memo from Grimes campaign senior advisor Jonathan Hurst, which was obtained by Business Insider, comes one day after The New York Times published a lengthy analysis of the unprecedented nature of a potential McConnell loss.
“We do not think that ‘it hasn’t happened before’ is good analysis or a smart way to run a campaign,” one Grimes campaign adviser told Business Insider. “One of the hardest messages to win on is ‘invincibility.'”
Hurst’s memo delves into the details of why the Grimes campaign believes McConnell is more vulnerable than ever. First, McConnell is devoting precious time and energy to a challenge from the right in Republican Matt Bevin, with the primary on May 20. Hurst also argues Grimes has grassroots and polling advantages.
The Times piece, by Nate Cohn, argued a McConnell defeat would be rather unprecedented. His historical reasoning:
McConnell is not only an incumbent senator who represents the party opposed to the White House in a midterm election, but he also comes from a state that opposes the president. Since 1956, only seven senators in these circumstances have lost re-election. The last time was in 1998, when John Edwards defeated Senator Lauch Faircloth in North Carolina.
However, Cohn’s analysis did not include a focus on McConnell’s poor approval and favorability ratings in Kentucky. Hurst also argues the head-to-head polling numbers show a Grimes advantage. He points out that, for the last seven months, “our campaign has steadily polled ahead of or in a dead-heat with Mitch McConnell,” including the recent Bluegrass Poll in February in which Grimes had a 4-point lead. He also emphasises Grimes’ 12-point advantage with women in that poll.
“Despite facing millions of dollars in TV and radio attack ads, our campaign is tied or ahead in 12 recent polls without spending a single dollar on paid media,” Hurst writes. “Our multimillion-dollar war chest will allow us to go toe-to-toe with the McConnell campaign and tout Alison’s message in every corner of the Commonwealth.”
The other points in the memo focus on what Hurst described as Grimes’ edge in grassroots organising, while also touting her 20-point jobs plan for Kentucky.
“Mitch McConnell has never been so unpopular nor has he run against a candidate as focused and disciplined as Alison Lundergan Grimes,” Hurst writes in his conclusion. “McConnell has met his match — and frankly, his replacement.”
In a statement, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said: “Alison Lundergan Grimes is a new face for the same tired old ideas of Barack Obama and the national liberals. Her anti-coal, big-spending, pro-union boss platform is severely out of touch with Kentucky while Mitch McConnell is championing the fresh, new ideas of liberty and free enterprise to move our Commonwealth forward.”
You can read the full Grimes campaign memo below:
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