In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell’s wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.
As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.
The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.
“You’ve seen the ads attacking my husband. As Mitch McConnell’s wife, I have come to expect them,” Chao says in the ad. “Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch’s patriotism because he’s married to me. That’s how low some people will stoop.”
Using President Obama as a backdrop, Chao also says McConnell’s leadership has helped protect Kentucky from “bad ideas” in Washington. It is unclear what specific legislation or measure the ad is referring to, but given the president’s unpopularity in the state it may not matter.
Observers argue that Team Mitch putting out an ad a year and a half before Election Day represents weakness, but the McConnell campaign believes the incumbent is being besieged by negative attacks from the left and must respond.
“Mitch McConnell is such a tremendous champion for Kentucky, and goes to bat for the Commonwealth every day,” says McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. “Liberal special interest group across country are sure to try every dirty trick in the book to tear him down, but our campaign will fight as hard as Mitch fights for us and make sure we spread his positive message to every voter in the State.”
In response to the ad, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says McConnell is the most vulnerable and least popular incumbent in the country.
“Mitch McConnell is known as the meanest, most negative campaigner in all of Washington, and Kentuckians and all Americans are sick and tired of his nasty, partisan brand of politics,” says DSCC spokesman Matt Canter. “No wonder he is the least popular incumbent senator in the entire country. We strongly disagree with the tweet that Mitch McConnell is referencing in his new ad, but let’s be honest: Mitch McConnell is not a victim. In fact, he is the reason for Washington’s dysfunction.”