clock menu more-arrow no yes

Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn’t want you to know she’s running anti-amnesty ads against Mitch McConnell

Alison Lundergan Grimes has a secret (if you're an out-of-state Democrat).
Alison Lundergan Grimes has a secret (if you're an out-of-state Democrat).
Win McNamee/Getty

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection in his deep-red home state of Kentucky, but he probably isn't going to lose his seat to Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. She's trying to regain some ground by attacking McConnell from the right — in the hopes that Kentucky voters will pay more attention to her ads than they do to the D next to her name on the ballot. In August, she ran an ad hitting McConnell for not supporting the coal industry. And now, she's running ads in Kentucky attacking McConnell for voting for...amnesty.

If you read the small print, you'll see that the "amnesty" Grimes is attacking McConnell for supporting is the "Reagan amnesty" of 1986 — which leaves the odd impression that, for an ad attacking McConnell of hypocrisy, he's actually been remarkably consistent for the last twenty-eight years.

But what's even weirder is that Grimes is running this ad while continuing to support a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. In fact, McConnell's been attacking Grimes for her support for the "Obama amnesty" — and she's put up a web ad of her own defending herself from those attacks, by maintaining that the immigration bill the Senate passed last year wasn't "Obama's," and that comprehensive immigration reform isn't "amnesty."

Both of those claims are technically correct. But any Kentucky voters who would be interested in an "amnesty" attack aren't going to care about the distinction.

Grimes' campaign is clearly trying to have it both ways on McConnell's "amnesty" attacks. For online and out-of-state progressives and donors, they're using the "web ad" to defend themselves in line with the Democratic party's agenda. But on television in Kentucky, they're running an ad trying to run to McConnell's right on "amnesty." Notably, the new anti-amnesty ad is unlisted on YouTube — Vox found it thanks to a link on a Louisville Courant blog. That means it doesn't show up on Grimes' main YouTube page and isn't searchable — minimizing the likelihood that out-of-state supporters will see it.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.