With only days left until the Nov. 4 election, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes charged into the Copper & Kings Distillery on Tuesday evening with finance reform firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to shout back at the 400 or so supporters chanting her name.
Tuesday night’s campaign stop marks the second time this year Warren has appeared beside Grimes in Louisville, stirring supporters on student loan reform with her well-known brand of middle-class populism.
Student loan reform, which often disproportionately effects young women, has been a platform centerpiece throughout Grimes’ campaign, garnering the attention of college-aged political groups—and the support of stalwarts like Warren.
“Let’s just remember the basic facts here,” said Warren. “We’ve got 40 million people in this country who are dealing with student loan debt, $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. It is dragging down our economy. Young people are not able to buy homes. They are not able to buy cars. They are not able to start small businesses.”
Grimes has proposed reforms that mimic much of what was available in previous Warren legislation, including fully funding Pell Grants, allowing students to obtain federally subsidized Stafford loans at the same rates granted to banks, and refinancing student loans.
During her speech, Warren struck hard at Grimes’ opponent, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, noting his opposition to her June proposal which would have allowed students to refinance their loans at current, lower interest rates.
“This should be a no-brainer, right? 359,000 Kentuckians would be eligible to refinance their student loan debt if we could pass this. So let’s be clear: Where does this bill stand? Well, every single Democrat in the United States Senate supported this bill,” she said.
Warren railed against the gender wage gap, taking McConnell to task on his several votes against legislation guaranteeing pay equity, and calling on Kentuckians to send a woman to the Senate.
If elected, Grimes would be Kentucky’s first female U.S. senator. Today, there are 20 women in the Senate, the largest number ever, 16 of which are Democrats.
Grimes isn’t the only high-profile woman candidate either. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the Grimes McConnell race ranks fourth among the top 10 most expensive Senate races in the country right now. And the top three races above Kentucky’s– in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa –also feature women candidates.
Nationwide, 14 Senate races involve women—nine of the women are estimated to win seats while polls favor male opponents for the other five races. In the nine races where women are predicted to win, five are facing male incumbents, and four are holding onto their seats by the seats of their pantsuits.
Grimes, who has weathered several gendered attacks from McConnell throughout her campaign, continues to rely on the pivotal, and widely-female, Democratic voter turnout for next week. She closed her speech Tuesday night by driving home her point:
“We can move one another and, yes, we will move Mitch McConnell right out of Washington,” shouted Grimes. “You give us your time. You give us your time and your talents and you’ll get this Kentucky filly across the finish line into the winner circle, and we’ll put him out to pasture.”