Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is scolding Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes for not coming out against a climate change “talk-a-thon” staged by her party this week.
During a marathon of speeches lasting from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning, 28 Democrats took over the Senate floor to bring attention to how human activity and carbon emissions are changing weather patterns.
The Grimes campaign has dodged repeated questions about whether she opposes, supports or would have participated in the climate change discussion.
Democratic senators in red states were noticeably absent from the environmental discussion as well.
“It is one of the primary responsibilities of a U.S. Senator to speak out when fellow lawmakers are actively working against your constituents’ best interests,” McConnell said in a campaign statement.
“It is very disappointing that Alison Lundergan Grimes could not muster a word against her liberal allies in Washington who were pulling an all-nighter to shut down the coal industry and left open the possibility that she would join them. If you’re conflicted about fighting for the jobs of fellow Kentuckians, you need to do some serious soul searching about why it is you’re running for U.S. Senate in the first place.”
McConnell took to the Senate floor Monday before the Democrats began their “talk-a-thon” to defend the state’s coal industry and the jobs it represents.
Other GOP critics have described the series of speeches as a political stunt to please liberal donors and noted Democrats control the Senate, but failed to propose any specific legislation. Those behind the talk argue Republican and their donors—namely the Koch brothers—need to “wake up” to the realities of climate change.
In previous comments, Grimes has repeatedly said she is a supporter of Kentucky’s coal industry and disagrees with many of President Obama’s environmental policies. But Republicans have been relentless in pointing out Grimes has held fundraisers with activists in the green movement.
The Grimes campaign did not respond to our request for comment on this story.
UPDATE 12:10 p.m.:
“Alison Lundergan Grimes has taken the lead on speaking out against the main lawmaker who has been actively working against Kentucky: Mitch McConnell,” says Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton. “Unlike McConnell, Alison has offered forward-looking solutions to invest in clean coal technology and expand the sale of Kentucky coal abroad. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell voted against half a billion dollars in fossil fuel research and opposed keeping foreign markets open for Kentucky coal.”