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Posted at 4:42 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that former President Bill Clinton can stump in Kentucky whenever he wants, characterizing the Democratic icon as his election good-luck charm.
Clinton campaigned in Louisville earlier Tuesday for McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has put the Republican-leaning state in play for Democrats. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, is a longtime Democratic operative and ally of the powerful Clinton family.
McConnell, who faces opposition from Grimes on his left and tea-party-backed Matt Bevin on his right, seemed unfazed by the political activity at home.
“I welcome him back,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol.
“The last time he ran in 1996 he eked out a narrow victory in Kentucky, while I beat the current governor by 160,000 votes, 10 points,” McConnell said. “In 2008, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came to town, including the day before the election, and I won by 100,000 votes. So I welcome President Clinton back to Kentucky. Every time he’s come its been really good for me.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., continued to face questions over whether President Barack Obama should campaign for embattled Senate Democrats. He dismissed a question on the issue pegged to Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who in a recent CNN interview declined to say whether he’d want Obama on the trail with him.
Reid, who knows a thing or two about tough re-election bids, did seem more bullish on Clinton’s help to Democrats than McConnell.
“We do have one president that’s been going every place and that’s Clinton. He’s traveling around campaigning for everybody, doing a great job,” Reid told reporters.
The Tuesday event for Grimes was streamed live by national networks, and the Grimes campaign immediately shot out a fundraising email touting Clinton’s appearance. The money and attention is helping Grimes prepare for a highly competitive general election, which officially kicks off following the May 20 GOP primary.
The Kentucky Senate race is rated Leans Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.