Lexington Herald-Leader Highlights RunSwitch Partner Scott Jennings’s Role in Reelecting McConnell
Incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won reelection last night 56% to 41% over his opponent, Alison Grimes. RunSwitch Partner Scott Jennings, who wrote a column last week about why he supported McConnell for reelection, served as Senior Advisor to the Super PAC “Kentuckians for Strong Leadership,” which supported McConnell’s efforts.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported on last night’s win:
That travel schedule, combined with the Grimes campaign’s decision to mostly skip introducing a largely unknown candidate to the electorate until after the primary election, created an opening for two McConnell-allied groups to go to work early defining Grimes in ways she could not overcome down the road.
The super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership and the non-profit Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, both of which were run by former top McConnell aide Scott Jennings, first went on the air in May 2013. Seizing on Obama’s unpopularity in the state, Jennings and McConnell’s campaign established the narrative that a vote for Grimes would be a vote for the president and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In June 2013, a month before Grimes officially entered the race, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership went on the air with an ad referring to a news report that Grimes had met with Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Grimes would stand with Obama,” the ad said. “And that’s bad news for us.”
As McConnell bested Bevin in May, 60 percent to 35 percent, there were signs that Jennings’ groups had already inflicted a great deal of damage on Grimes’ hopes for beating McConnell. Using Obama’s “war on coal” as a vehicle and reminding voters at every turn that Reid once said “coal makes you sick,” Republicans saw election returns in coal-producing counties on May 20 as proof that their line of attack had worked. Grimes, in a closed primary where none of the other candidates were remotely well financed, won the Democratic nomination with a little more than 76 percent of the vote, meaning 24 percent of Democrats cast a protest vote against her.
The two outside groups run by Jennings spent about $20 million on a combination of pro-McConnell issues ads and spots tying Grimes to Obama. Tuesday night, Jennings said in a statement, “Kentuckians once again recognized that Sen. McConnell is the indispensable leader, fighting President Obama’s war on coal and ensuring that Kentucky gets the respect and attention it needs in Washington.”
You can read the full article from the Lexington Herald Leader here.