On the Road: Alison Lundergan Grimes on Bus Tour to Stir Support in West Ky.

May 9, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes at Tom's Grille.
Credit John Null

Kentucky Secretary of State and U.S. Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes brought her ten-day, 50-county bus tour to western Kentucky Friday, where she hopes to energize the historically Democratic region into voting that way in November.

Her presumptive opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has carried almost every county in the Jackson Purchase over the last two election cycles. But Grimes, who is leading or running neck-and-neck with McConnell in polls, says she’s going to make western Kentucky go “blue.”

“I wouldn’t be Secretary of State if it weren’t for west Kentucky,” Grimes said, after a stop at Tom's Grille in Murray. “I don’t need a GPS to get here. I know it like the back of my hand. It’s been a large part of my heart, it will continue to be and we’ll continue to advocate for them in the United States Senate.”

In her jobs-dominated stump speech, Grimes spoke of the need to train workers for the “jobs of tomorrow” and staying competitive on a global level.

Grimes’ tour will take her farther east into the region Saturday, with stops in Todd, Logan, Muhlenberg, Hopkins, Henderson and Daviess counties planned.

The McConnell campaign lashed out at Grimes' bus tour, saying that she is "abdicating her responsibility as Secretary of State to boost herself politically."

"Perhaps somewhere in Hollywood, Alison realized she's in her own primary race against a man who hasn't filed an FEC report, so anything below 99 percent of the vote is a massive failure," said McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore in a statement.

Grimes took the criticism in stride, saying she's accomplished more in her two-and-a-half years as Secretary of State than McConnell has accomplished in Washington in 30 years.

"I'm out here, as I have been as Secretary of State, with the people of Kentucky and they know what my record and work as Secretary of State has been and, in the years I've had the opportunity to serve as Secretary of State, it's longer than the three decades Mitch McConnell has been in Washington D.C.," Grimes said.

Earlier, in her prepared remarks, Grimes invoked western Kentucky humorist Irvin S. Cobb in saying that McConnell's legislative record provides "too much material and too little time."