Alison Lundergan Grimes Really Wants You to Know How Much She Likes Guns

Mitch McConnell’s Democratic challenger just sent out a press release inviting the Senate minority leader to join her on a gun range. Because, in Kentucky, guns mean a lot.

National Journal
Matt Berman
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Matt Berman
Nov. 8, 2013, 8:43 a.m.

The week’s al­most over, and polit­ic­al cam­paigns know as well as any­one that it’s hard to get trac­tion on a Fri­day af­ter­noon. So the cam­paign of Ken­tucky Demo­crat­ic Sen­ate can­did­ate Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes has de­cided to shake things up a bit.

A little after 1 p.m., Grimes’s cam­paign sent out a press blast in­vit­ing Mitch Mc­Con­nell “to join her on gun range.” The full text:

As an NRA mem­ber, my strong sup­port for the Second Amend­ment is un­ques­tioned. I am proud of Ken­tucky’s long-held gun own­er­ship, sport­ing and hunt­ing tra­di­tions. It is un­for­tu­nate that Sen­at­or Mc­Con­nell is des­per­ate to mis­lead Ken­tucky voters about my strong sup­port for the Second Amend­ment. In the Sen­ate, I will pro­tect my fel­low Ken­tucki­ans’ right to keep and bear arms. Whenev­er he’s not busy pan­der­ing to Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists, I wel­come Sen­at­or Mc­Con­nell to come shoot with me at the range any day.

The photo up top came along as well. The thing is, as ran­dom as this may seem, it’s ac­tu­ally pretty im­port­ant for Grimes’s Sen­ate chances for you to know that she’s a big fan of guns. Be­cause the Na­tion­al Rifle As­so­ci­ation is already get­ting ready to spend big in the race.

This Fri­day, Mitch Mc­Con­nell is get­ting the NRA’s “De­fend­er of Free­dom” award. And it’s plan­ning on throw­ing its full fin­an­cial weight in­to the race. “We’re go­ing to make sure that gun own­ers in Ken­tucky un­der­stand that they have a cham­pi­on rep­res­ent­ing them in the United States Sen­ate,” NRA lob­by­ist Chris Cox told Ken­tucky’s Lex­ing­ton Her­ald-Lead­er this week. With more than $11 mil­lion on hand for 2014, the NRA’s sup­port for Mc­Con­nell, Cox says, will be at full strength.

And Ken­tucki­ans be­lieve that guns do more good for so­ci­ety than ill by a 65 per­cent to 27 per­cent mar­gin, ac­cord­ing to a Cour­i­er-Journ­al Bluegrass poll from earli­er this year. There was some wiggle room here for re­formers, though: 75 per­cent of re­spond­ents sup­port back­ground checks on gun buy­ers. The Grimes-Mc­Con­nell race ap­pears to be massively tight, and al­though there’s a long way to go un­til Elec­tion Day, an is­sue like gun rights could be a dif­fer­ence maker. 

Of course, Grimes didn’t men­tion any of that in her press state­ment. But no seem­ingly-ran­dom polit­ic­al email lives in a va­cu­um.

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