And you thought the Ashley Judd proto-campaign was a joke. Fresh off the humiliation of her double-flip-flop on Brett Kavanaugh, Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski fact-checks Amy McGrath’s campaign launch video — and finds it’s based on a lie. The constituent letters that Mitch McConnell supposedly ignored didn’t get mailed out until the day the video was released:
Kentucky Senate candidate Amy McGrath’s three-minute campaign launch video retells her personal story of getting no answer to letters to members of Congress, then features four Kentuckians writing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for help with personal crises.
The video implies that McConnell never responded, but it appears the letters were sent Tuesday, the same day that McGrath announced her bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge him.
A spokesman for McConnell told CQ Roll Call on Friday that the senator’s Louisville office received three of the four letters featured in the video on Thursday. They were postmarked on Tuesday.
In case you missed it, the letters were the central theme of McGrath’s video. “Everything that’s wrong in Washington had to start someplace,” McGrath says, “and it started with this man,” with grim pictures of McConnell in Washington. McGrath says McConnell made DC “a place where ideals go to die”:
I’m running to replace Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate. Everything that’s wrong with Washington had to start somewhere—it started with him. With your help, we can defeat Mitch and defend democracy. Join us: https://t.co/c4b0WAp4ji pic.twitter.com/DNLjFkHGua
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) July 9, 2019
McGrath then goes on to pontificate about “resetting the nation’s moral compass,” which is pretty rich after Lesniewski’s report. The campaign told Lesniewski that the letters were written in “real time,” while the video was being made, but the implication is that these were letters that had been sent earlier enough to have expected a response. Despite the clear implication in the video that McConnell had ignored the letters, Team McGrath now claims that all they wanted to show was how much people want to talk with McConnell:
“Their stories represent the concerns of thousands of Kentuckians and they would love the opportunity to sit down with Senator Mitch McConnell in person to tell them what they’ve been going through in their daily lives,” she said.
Even for up-against-the-wall spin, that’s pretty pathetic. At the moment, that also suffices for a good description of McGrath’s campaign, which as a CNN panel noted earlier this week, has been a rolling disaster since the word go. The Kavanaugh debacle demonstrated McGrath’s imcompetence, but this dirty trick hints at flat-out dishonesty and manipulation. Kentucky Democrats might want to keep recruiting for a challenger to Cocaine Mitch.
As for the Senate Majority Leader, his office claims he’s pretty busy with his pen:
“Throughout Senator McConnell’s entire Senate service, he has prioritized constituent correspondence and takes seriously his responsibility to hear from and respond to Kentuckians,” Kentucky Communications Director Robert Steurer said in a statement. “In fact, since he was elected to the Senate, he has sent more than 4 million pieces of correspondence to his constituents.”
Successful politicians usually take constituent services very seriously. The ones who don’t end up like Eric Cantor and Joe Crowley. In a deep red state like Kentucky, the only way McConnell gets retired is in a surprise primary like those two examples, or laughing on his way to voluntary retirement.