Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has held his seat in Kentucky since 1984, but his Democratic rival Alison Lundergan Grimes is giving him his stiffest challenge in years. The 35-year-old challenger roasted McConnell on a varity of issues Saturday at the state’s 134th annual Fancy Farm Picnic, slamming his advanced age, job creation record and the way he treats women, among other topics. Setting a “Mitch McConnell doesn’t care” theme, Grimes portrayed her opponent as a member of Washington’s old guard who has lost touch with the needs of the average Kentuckian.
The event marked just the second time that the Senate candidates have attended the same event, the Associated Press reports. Alongside its status as a fundraiser, the Fancy Farm Picnic is notorious for its rhetorical slugfests, and Grimes did not miss her chance to launch a salvo at the 72-year-old incumbent. She currently serves as Kentucky’s secretary of state.
“After three decades in Washington, you’ve just given up. You don’t care about us anymore,” Grimes said, speaking directly to McConnell. Throughout her speech, McConnell’s supporters could be heard chanting “We Want Mitch.”
A CBS News poll conducted in July estimated that McConnell would edge out Grimes for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat if the election were held today. But Grimes’ impassioned speech, coupled with support from political heavyweights such as former President Bill Clinton, has helped her to keep pace in a race that many believe to be the most important of 2014’s midterm elections. A roundup of 12 provocative quotes from Grimes’ speech at Fancy Farm can be viewed below.
-“What a huge crowd for Sen. McConnell’s retirement party.”
-“Sen. McConnell, with all this great barbeque, trust me, there’s no way I’m gonna leave here today an empty dress.”
-“It’s not easy being Mitch McConnell. He’s been in Washington D.C. so long, he thinks Duke’s in Kentucky and Cloverlick’s not.”
-“I’ve got good news for the folks in Cloverlick: If Mitch McConnell doesn’t know where your town is, it just makes it harder for him to ship your jobs overseas. But don’t worry, Cloverlick – you’re not alone. Mitch McConnell forgot about most Kentuckians a long time ago.”
-“35 is my age. That’s also Sen. McConnell’s approval rating.”
-“When you finally see Sen. McConnell and I on the same stage, you’ll realize only one of us believes that women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
-“If Mitch McConnell were a TV show, he’d be 'Mad Men,' treating women unfairly, stuck in 1968 and ending this season.”
-“When it comes to being a woman and being treated equally here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Mitch McConnell doesn’t care.”
-“When it comes to the jobs that we so need here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Mitch McConnell doesn’t care.”
-“While Mitch McConnell may not think it’s his job to bring jobs here to the commonwealth, as your U.S. senator, it will be my No. 1 priority.”
-“One of us represents the past, one of us represents the future.”
-“This race is between me and you and the people of Kentucky. We intend to hold you accountable for your 30 years of failed leadership. You can run from the people of Kentucky, you can refuse to answer their questions. But, senator, you can’t hide from your record and I intend to hold you accountable.”