Alison Lundergan Grimes Shows Mitch McConnell How to Hold a Gun in a New Ad

Yet another reminder of how important guns are in Kentucky, especially for a candidate trying to distance herself from the president.

Alison Lundergan Grimes
National Journal
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Rebecca Nelson
Sept. 15, 2014, 7:37 a.m.

The race for Ken­tucky voters’ hearts and hol­sters is heat­ing up, and Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes wants to prove her muscle. In an ad re­leased Monday by her cam­paign, the Demo­crat­ic Sen­ate can­did­ate high­lights the dif­fer­ences between her­self and Pres­id­ent Obama, all while do­ing something very Ken­tucki­an: skeet shoot­ing in a field.

“I’m not Barack Obama,” says Grimes, turn­ing to the cam­era after fir­ing a shot. “I dis­agree with him on guns, coal, and the EPA.”

In a dir­ect dig at her op­pos­i­tion, a photo of Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bent Mitch Mc­Con­nell bran­dish­ing a rifle at the Con­ser­vat­ive Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Con­fer­ence flashes on screen.

“And Mitch,” she con­cludes, “that’s not how you hold a gun.”

A ma­jor­ity of Ken­tucki­ans be­lieve guns do more good for so­ci­ety than harm, ac­cord­ing to a 2013 Cour­i­er-Journ­al Bluegrass poll. And the Na­tion­al Rifle As­so­ci­ation has been an act­ive par­ti­cipant in the Bluegrass State’s elec­tion, giv­ing $10,000 to the state’s Re­pub­lic­an Party and en­dors­ing Mc­Con­nell in the race last week.

The gun-rights or­gan­iz­a­tion has cam­paigned on be­half of Mc­Con­nell, too. In an NRA-fun­ded mail­er sent out to res­id­ents in Au­gust, the as­so­ci­ation as­sured voters that they “can count on Mitch Mc­Con­nell to pro­tect your Second Amend­ment rights.” Grimes’ cam­paign points out that she is a mem­ber of the NRA.

Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates have long used guns in polit­ic­al ad­vert­ise­ments to show they aren’t ho­met­own ver­sions of the Wash­ing­ton lib­er­als they loathe. In the 2010 West Vir­gin­ia Sen­ate race, an ad for Joe Manchin showed the then-can­did­ate shoot­ing a hole through the Sen­ate’s cap-and-trade bill — EPA-sup­por­ted le­gis­la­tion to re­duce car­bon emis­sions — just after de­clar­ing he would “take on Wash­ing­ton and this ad­min­is­tra­tion.” Manchin won the seat later that year.

In a dir­ect dig at her op­pos­i­tion, a photo of Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bent Mitch Mc­Con­nell bran­dish­ing a rifle at the Con­ser­vat­ive Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Con­fer­ence flashes on screen.

“And Mitch,” she con­cludes, “that’s not how you hold a gun.”

A ma­jor­ity of Ken­tucki­ans be­lieve guns do more good for so­ci­ety than harm, ac­cord­ing to a 2013 Cour­i­er-Journ­al Bluegrass poll. And the Na­tion­al Rifle As­so­ci­ation has been an act­ive par­ti­cipant in the Bluegrass State’s elec­tion, giv­ing $10,000 to the state’s Re­pub­lic­an Party and en­dors­ing Mc­Con­nell in the race last week.

The gun-rights or­gan­iz­a­tion has cam­paigned on be­half of Mc­Con­nell, too. In an NRA-fun­ded mail­er sent out to res­id­ents in Au­gust, the as­so­ci­ation as­sured voters that they “can count on Mitch Mc­Con­nell to pro­tect your Second Amend­ment rights.” Grimes’ cam­paign points out that she is a mem­ber of the NRA.

Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates have long used guns in polit­ic­al ad­vert­ise­ments to show they aren’t ho­met­own ver­sions of the Wash­ing­ton lib­er­als they loathe. In the 2010 West Vir­gin­ia Sen­ate race, an ad for Joe Manchin showed the then-can­did­ate shoot­ing a hole through the Sen­ate’s cap-and-trade bill — EPA-sup­por­ted le­gis­la­tion to re­duce car­bon emis­sions — just after de­clar­ing he would “take on Wash­ing­ton and this ad­min­is­tra­tion.” Manchin won the seat later that year.

Grimes has taken aim at Mc­Con­nell’s gun re­cord be­fore. Last year, she in­vited the sen­at­or to join her on the shoot­ing range “whenev­er he’s not busy pan­der­ing to Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists.” He hasn’t taken her up on the out­ing.

Shortly after Grimes re­leased the ad, Mc­Con­nell cam­paign spokes­wo­man Al­lis­on Moore re­spon­ded with bite via an email blast: “An in­ex­per­i­enced Obama lib­er­al with a gun is no less dan­ger­ous “Žfor Ken­tucky fam­il­ies than one without.”

This story was up­dated at 12:30 p.m.

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