The Republican Party of Kentucky is calling on Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes to return campaign contributions from a former state representative accused of sexual harassment.
Last September, Democrat John Arnold resigned amid allegations he harassed and assaulted three statehouse employees.
When asked about the scandal last year, Grimes was reticent about whether Arnold should have stepped down. But a month after Arnold left office the Grimes campaign did accept a $250 donation from the Western Kentucky lawmaker.
RPK spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper says Grimes is sending the wrong message to Kentucky women by accepting Arnold's support while failing to condemn his alleged behavior.
"We are asking for Alison Lundergan Grimes to return that donation. If she really cares about standing up for Kentucky women she should do that," she says. "And if she doesn't we can only assume either she condones sexual harassment and disgustingly inappropriate behavior in the workplace or she's more concerned with her liberal allies campaign cash than the women of Kentucky."
The Grimes campaign has been pummeling Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell for his voting record on women's issues. With the support of prominent women's groups it appears to be working, according to the recent Bluegrass Poll released last week.
That survey showed Grimes with a 12-point lead over McConnell among registered female voters.
But the state GOP is hoping to blunt the "war on women" narrative crafted by national Democrats by connecting Grimes to scandal and its handling by fellow state Democrats.
A special state House committee was assigned to investigate the Arnold scandal, but it disbanded without interviewing witnesses or examining any evidence citing a lack of jurisdiction.
The RPK is also asking Grimes to return a $500 contribution from Hollywood director Woody Allen, who was recently accused of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter.
"It's just another instance of someone accused of mistreating women publicly supporting her campaign," says Cooper.
The Grimes campaign did not immediately return WFPL's request for comment.