Last night the campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes piggybacked off of the earlier PPP poll showing her ahead of McConnell 45 to 44 percent with an internal poll showing her up 44 to 42 percent. Granted, that’s an internal poll, but there seems to be little doubt at this point that the race is already extremely close, and its making Team Mitch sweat bullets.
The poll also showed McConnell’s approval/disapproval rating in Kentucky at a miserably underwater 38/58, and among those who are familiar with Grimes, she leads 53 to 38 percent. Grimes, with 33/29 approvals, is still a mystery to a large chunk of voters for the time being, but won’t be for long.
Speaking of which, Grimes sat down with Politico for her first sit down interview since announcing her intention to run for Senate, taking questions about her policy positions.
Grimes did give some new policy specifics, saying that she would support expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales, an extremely popular position despite Congress blocking to Toomey-Manchin bill earlier this year among GOP propaganda about this leading to gun confiscation and a possible United Nations takeover of our precious bodily fluids.
“We shouldn’t hold different standards for those going two miles down the road than those who are actually going into the gun stores,” Grimes said.
But that’s where the specifics ended:
But she would not say what her position is on banning assault weapons. Similarly, Grimes declined to lay out her views on hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage, nor was she eager to talk about whether she backs higher taxes on high-income earners. While she says she wouldn’t repeal Obamacare, as McConnell has demanded, Grimes has separately made comments that she wants to “fix” the law. But she has been cagey on what exactly she would change.
“These and many more positions, we’re going to have the course of the next 15 months I hope, to talk about,” she said repeatedly in the interview.
“Senate races are pretty big things that are big discussions on the big issues of the day, and that’s a discussion that she’s going to have a hard time with,” said Billy Piper, McConnell’s former chief of staff and a longtime veteran of the leader’s campaigns. “She’s full of generalities, hoping she can capture a murky middle ground. I think that’s going to be hard to do over time.”
Technically, Piper is correct. While Grimes certainly wants the focus of this race to be on McConnell — who is quite simply not a popular guy — she will only be able to dance around policy specifics for so long before she gets labeled as an evasive politician with something to hide. We’ll assume that she’ll be more revealing in the weeks to come, but that’s just an assumption for the time being.
And as for distancing herself from Obama and the national party, this is kind of an eye-popping quote:
And Grimes made sure to distance herself from Obama and align herself with the Clintons, longtime friends of her family who remain well-liked in the state. Asked if she regretted voting for Obama in past elections, Grimes argued she backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary and said she was a delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention only because she had no other choice.
“The second convention I went to, I went there as secretary of state,” she said. “And you will recall we had quotas where you got to have certain female and male numbers. Obviously, the only female constitutional officer had to be there.”
I was under duress! A hostage! Alrighty…
To be fair to Grimes, she has laid out some conservative positions on her website — though many of them also lack specifics, like her spending cuts and balanced budget amendment proposal — and she’s come out strong in support of the Violence Against Women Act and pay equality protections for women. Speaking of which, Grimes laid a zinger on McConnell for using his wife to show that despite his votes, the ladies should like him:
“Simply saying, ‘I’m married to a woman’ doesn’t speak loud enough,” Grimes said of McConnell. “Your actions, what you do in the course of 28 years, indicates where you will and how you will stand up for women.”
That being said, if you can’t even tell a reporter if you’re pro-choice, that doesn’t exactly instill confidence in others about yourself.
I wouldn’t expect Grimes to expand on many more policy specifics this weekend in Fancy Farm, but I certainly expect more zingers… and beads of sweat from McConnell, literally and figuratively.