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Sen. Stabenow Rallies for Grimes with Women in Bellevue

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes brought her campaign for the United State Senate back to Northern Kentucky on Monday and brought with her US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The Grimes campaign was hosted in Bellevue by Mackey McNeill at Mackey Advisers on Fairfield Avenue at an event for Democratic women.

Stabenow is a woman whose footsteps Grimes would like to follow. The Michigan Democrat was elected to her third term in 2012, but in 2000 she became the first female candidate to beat an incumbent US Senator. Stabenow also chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee in which Sen. Mitch McConnell, Grimes's likely opponent in November, also serves as a member.

Stabenow said Monday that McConnell never came to one meeting leading up to the eventual passage and adoption of a federal farm bill that she wrote. She also claimed that McConnell never talks to her about Kentucky farmers. "Only two people have talked to be about agriculture in Kentucky: your governor and Alison," Stabenow said.

"The senator Alison is running against is on my committee and hasn't come to any meetings. Zero. And he has never talked to be about Kentucky," Stabenow said. "I'm excited because (Grimes) wants to be on the agriculture committee."

The junior senator from Michigan said that electing Grimes would change the tenor in DC. "This race is a big deal. It's important," Stabenow said adding that the race is significant not just because it involves the Senate Minority Leader. "It is important because of who Alison is. She has the credibility and the ability to win the race."

"You're in the middle of the most exciting race in the country," Stabenow told the packed room.

Recent polls indicate that a race between Grimes and McConnell in November would be a toss-up. McConnell faces a primary challenge from Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, something noted by Grimes's grandmother Elsie Case, a fixture of the campaign trail. 

"After (McConnell)'s finished with that tea party feller, he will come after Alison with a vengeance," Case said. "He has the power grip on Kentucky and is in the pocket of special interest groups who have amassed a huge money advantage. They're not going to give that up without a fight."

Stabenow's joint appearance with Grimes in Bellevue was their second stop on the campaign trail. They visited with farmers in Henry County earlier in the day. Grimes joked that since she and Stabenow would be looking at animals headed to an auction and could possibly place their feet in some unpleasant "ground", her response when a reporter asked if she knew what she'd be walking through was, "Well, it depends whether Mitch McConnell has been there or not."

Grimes used the event to appeal to women. She highlighted what she perceived as potentially sexist remarks made by McConnell when he referred for former First Lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a "golden girl" and to Grimes as "an empty dress".

"It's not what's in the dress, it's what's up in the head," Grimes said. "We'll stack this full brain up against his apparently empty head any day of the week."

"Debbie's ready for a colleague, one that will actually show up to ag committee meetings."

McConnell did push for the inclusion of an amendment in the farm bill related to industrial hemp. “This is a huge victory for Kentucky agriculture and our economy," McConnell said in a news release on February 4. "The measure I included in the Farm Bill conference report will give Commissioner James Comer the go ahead to cultivate hemp for pilot programs. I have heard from many Kentuckians who see this as a first step to establishing a market for industrial hemp in Kentucky. By exploring innovative ways to use hemp to benefit a variety of Kentucky industries, yet consistent with my long-standing support for Kentucky law enforcement’s aggressive efforts at marijuana interdiction, the pilot programs authorized by this legislation could help boost our state’s economy and lead to future jobs."

Grimes pointed out that McConnell is opposed to raising the minimum wage, an initiative that she would sign on to right away if elected, she said. She argued that the balance of power in the US Senate may hinge on the outcome in Kentucky in November.

"This race is big. It's being watched by a lot of people," Grimes said. "This race means the difference between former Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell."

Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News