Senate Democrats' campaign arm buys air time in Grimes-McConnell tight, costly Kentucky race

Associated Press

The Senate Democrats' campaign arm on Tuesday released an ad that criticizes Republican Leader Mitch McConnell as spending three decades amassing wealth in Washington while his Kentucky constituents struggled.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's return to Kentucky airwaves comes two weeks after it ditched its ad budget there and almost a week after it promised to return to television to help the Democratic nominee, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Both Senate candidates and their allies have spent almost $68 million on the race, among the most costly and competitive in the country.

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Hoping to tilt the race in Grimes' favor, the DSCC ad aims at voters' frustration with Washington and with Kentucky's struggling economy.

"After 30 years, it just feels like Mitch is making his job work for him — and not us," former teacher Estelle Bayer says in the 30-second ad.

Democrats note that when McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984, he was worth as much as $105,000. His 2013 financial disclosure reports indicate he and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, were worth as much as $37 million.

The ad's star, educator Bayer, says McConnell voted for pay hikes for lawmakers six times but opposed increasing the federal minimum wage.

Democrats said McConnell voted 17 times against such increases since 1989.

The DSCC was a latecomer to the Senate race's busy airwaves. Almost $31 million in ads have been aired, according to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity's analysis of media tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG. Of that, the DSCC was involved in just $1.8 million of those ads.

That late push comes as polls show McConnell and Grimes locked in a tight contest, and Democrats nationally trying to push back Republicans. If the GOP can pick up six seats, it will claim a majority in the Senate for the first time since 2006's elections.

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