Politics

Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes received a boost from the most prominent pro-coal Democrat in Washington in her slugfest with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this fall.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., waded into the contest Wednesday and said Grimes would be an ally to the coal industry and miners if elected.

“I know Alison’s commitment to coal and more importantly her commitment to coal miners,” Manchin said in a statement released by the Grimes campaign. “I know Alison will stand with me to pass legislation that protects the pensions that coal miners have earned and deserved.”

Grimes’ candidacy has mirrored Manchin’s 2010 election bid in many ways, including the gun-touting TV ads. It’s an effort to demonstrate she would be an independent, bipartisan voice if elected.

McConnell and his aides continue to connect Grimes to national Democrats, however, arguing she will be another vote for continued pollution regulations.

“Those of us who represent coal states have made numerous attempts to rein in the EPA, but the Senate Majority Leader and fellow Democrats here in Washington have blocked us at every turn,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Grimes aides refuse to give up ground on the issue despite poll numbers showing McConnell with a wide double-digit leader in Kentucky’s coalfield regions.

In a separate release Wednesday, the Grimes campaign once again jabbed at the senator’s wife for serving with a group dedicated to moving “the country from coal to clean energy.”

Manchin said Grimes would be a senator who would stand alongside other pro-coal lawmakers against regulations.

“Alison has the courage to stand up to those in her party who try to deny that coal will be a vital part of our energy for decades to come, and I know that Alison will fight against the War on Coal right beside me in Washington,” said Manchin. “I know Alison will work with me to make sure we develop the cleanest coal technology in the world so that we strike a balance between our energy and our environment.”