Kentucky Senate candidates spar over new ads

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2014 8:16 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The campaign for Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes challenged a new ad from Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell that boasted his support among women, contending it featured a woman who is registered to vote in Pennsylvania.

The McConnell campaign fired back, saying she is a college student at the University of Louisville who hasn't updated her voter registration yet. In a separate spat, the McConnell camp said a new ad from Grimes supporters falsely accused the Senate minority leader of using his office to improve his personal investments during the 2008 financial crisis.

It was the latest back and forth in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched races, with control of the Senate at stake.

McConnell's ad, released Wednesday, spotlights why four young women who support McConnell instead of Grimes. The Grimes campaign said one woman in the ad, Dallas Knierman, is registered to vote in Pennsylvania, implying the five-term Senator had to manufacture his support among Kentucky women. They account for more than half of the state's registered voters.

McConnell's senior campaign adviser Josh Holmes said Knierman lives in Louisville and attends the university there.

Knierman did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press. Her father in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, confirmed she rented a house in Louisville.

Meanwhile, the Senate Majority PAC, which has spent $4.4 million on ads criticizing McConnell, began airing a new ad saying McConnell used his office to improve his investments. The ad is based on a 2012 story from The Washington Post that detailed how 34 members of Congress updated their investments during the financial crisis after having phone calls or meetings with treasury officials.

But the story quotes McConnell's financial adviser saying the four trades came at the suggestion of Merrill Lynch, not McConnell. The story said McConnell never spoke to his financial adviser and does not own individual stocks to avoid the appearance of a conflict.

"The attack ad unveiled today on behalf of Alison Lundergan Grimes by the Senate Majority PAC is perhaps the most absurdly inaccurate ad that has ever hit Kentucky airwaves," McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said.

A spokesman for the Senate Majority PAC defended the ad and said McConnell "is out for himself and not the people of Kentucky."

The Senate Majority PAC ad is part of a new investment from two Democratic groups that had previously stopped airing ads in Kentucky. Politico reported Friday evening that McConnell loaned his campaign $1.8 million of his own money in response to the Democratic groups' recent spending.