With Election Day at a distance that can be realistically talked about in terms of hours away, incumbent Senator from Kentucky Mitch McConnell and challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes are pulling out all the stops to get the edge they each need to win over the other.
McConnell’s campaign war chest, previously bragged about as eclipsing Grimes’, got so low that the candidate had to loan his campaign $1.8 million dollars out of his own pocket. Then a mysterious outside donor started pumping cash into the state for third party issue ads attacking Grimes.
For her part, Grimes has seen some heavy-hitters come through the Bluegrass State to help her in a last-minute rally to unseat McConnell. Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren both stood with Grimes in the late days of the campaign.
Now Grimes has filed an injunction against McConnell for what she alleges is a dirty voter suppression tactic. It seems McConnell sent out mailers to voters that were likely to swing for Grimes, making it sound like they were ineligible to vote on Tuesday.
The mailers are official-looking and have the words “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” across the top and warn:
“You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information that has been targeted for citizens living in [county name inserted here].”
The enclosed letter begins just as official-sounding.
“This document serves as a notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area.”
The letter goes on to accuse Grimes of spreading false information about McConnell. The message iteslf is not any different from any campaign ad declaring, “My opponent lied about me.” But Grime’s concern is that it is intentionally designed to look like something that might have been mailed from a state government department, such as her own office as Secretary of State, warning voters that they themselves are suspected of illegal voting activity. And this is what she wants a judge to rule on as voter suppression.
Some who have received the mailer are saying that they are now afraid to vote on Tuesday.
— Walter Frazier (@WalterFrazier) November 1, 2014
Election officials in Eastern Kentucky, where coal mining is heaviest, have now found it necessary to respond to the McConnell mailer so as to assure voters in their area that they are still eligible to vote on Tuesday and are not under investigation.
“I don’t know what people are trying to do,” Perry County Clerk Haven King told WKYT. “There’s nothing fraudulent to my knowledge going on. And the people in Perry County, if you are registered to vote, you will be able to vote and you will be able to vote at your precinct.”
Some McConnell supporters dismiss the mailers as no big deal. Kelsey Cooper, a spokesperson for the Kentucky GOP, said in a statement:
“Alison Lundergan Grimes spent hundreds of thousands of dollars smearing Mitch McConnell and his wife but she’s upset about a mailer that holds her accountable for her blatant falsehoods. That's exactly what we've come to expect from the Obama campaign machine that she's attempted to introduce to Kentucky over the past two years."
The McConnell campaign is likely not worried about the injunction. The mailers are already sent and the election is only one more business day away.