A liberal group is attacking Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a new television ad over his opposition to gun control measures.
The group Progressive Change Campaign Committee is launching the commercial, which will air in Kentucky and Washington, D.C. area. It features gun owner and former military marksman Rodney Kendrick from Berea, calling on McConnell to support a ban on assault weapons and background checks on gun purchases.
“On pretty much every major issue Mitch McConnell sides with his big campaign contributors over everyday people in Kentucky,” PCCC co-founder Adam Green told WFPL. “Right now the gun debate is front and center, and therefore we’re elevating the fact that after the gun industry has spent (hundreds of thousands of dollars) to elect Mitch McConnell. He is opposing the will of the people in Kentucky and basic things like background checks to buy a gun.”
In response McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton condemned the commercial, adding PCCC is far outside the mainstream of Kentucky voters and is backed by liberal billionaire George Soros.
“Sen. McConnell fully anticipated that protecting Kentucky from President Obama’s gun control agenda would result in a flurry of attack ads from left-wing groups,” Benton says. “It’s not a secret to Kentuckians that Sen. McConnell is a stalwart supporter of their second amendment rights and George Soros funded commercials aren’t going to change that.”
The group has received $25,000 in contributions from Soros and his family since 2010. PCCC has also been described as being the “liberal thorn” in the side of the Obama administration and the group has criticized the White House for having a “loser mentality” during the healthcare debate.
The McConnell camp also points out that the group has only one listed contributor from Kentucky, according to Open Secrets.
“Mitch McConnell should definitely not be talking about who is funding what, because he is taking over $198,000 from the gun industry and millions and millions of dollars from special corporate interests,” says Green, adding PCCC has 675 small donors in Kentucky. “And pretty much his entire voting record in Congress has had him siding with those corporate interests over everyday people in Kentucky.”
“The only donations that are listed on Open Secrets are those $250 and above, and most of are donations are $3 to $10 checks. That’s a big contrast to Mitch McConnell.”
The gun control group’s $27,000 ad buy will air for one week across the state, but future commercials will be sent out in the coming weeks featuring other state gun owners.
PCCC also released a Public Policy Polling survey showing that the majority of Kentuckians back certain gun reforms.
The poll has 82 percent of Kentucky respondents in favor of criminal background checks for firearm purchases. Another question shows 50 percent support a ban on assault weapons while 42 percent oppose.
Those results are somewhat similar to a recent Bluegrass Poll conducted by The Courier-Journal, which found 56 percent of Kentuckcians favor stricter gun laws.
However, the survey also showed that gun rights is an important value to voters, with 65 percent of residents saying “guns protect law-abiding citizens more than they make society more dangerous.”