Politics
4:36 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Agriculture Forum Turns Into Political Slugfest Between Grimes, McConnell

What was supposed to be a forum on agriculture turned into a political slugfest as the candidates in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race traded blows today.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes questioned Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's effectiveness. She highlighted McConnell's prolonged absence from Agriculture Committee meetings and blamed him for a lapse in the federal farm bill that provided crop insurance for farmers.

“Never has a senator been paid so much to do so little for the people of Kentucky,” she said.

During the candidates' first joint public appearance since the Fancy Farm Picnic, McConnell said his role as the Republican Senate leader caused him to miss some meetings, but the farm bill he helped negotiate saved crop insurance for Kentucky's tobacco farmers.

McConnell said his leadership position gives Kentucky a strong voice, and it’s unlikely his replacement would assume such a post anytime soon.

“It would be a long time, a long time coming,” he said. “So you’re looking at a dramatic loss of influence.”

McConnell and Grimes fielded questions at a Kentucky Farm Bureau Forum in Louisville.