Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign denies allegation made by former rival

syoungman@herald-leader.comJanuary 7, 2014 

— The campaign of likely Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes denied allegations made Tuesday by a former Democratic rival who said he was offered money by the Grimes campaign to drop out of the race.

Ed Marksberry, a former Democratic Senate candidate from Owensboro, sent a 15-page letter to the blog alleging that an unnamed representative from the Grimes campaign offered to pay off his campaign debt and hire his campaign manager if he would drop out of the race.

"That did not happen," Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said Tuesday. "We appreciate Ed's support and wish him the best."

When reached for comment Tuesday, Marksberry declined to elaborate on the accusations made in the document and offered no evidence to bolster his claims.

In his letter, Marksberry said an unnamed person close to Jerry Lundergan, the candidate's father and a former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman, approached him about dropping out of the race.

"They said that Jerry really liked me, and that Jerry takes care of his friends," Marksberry wrote. "And if Alison wins, there could be a favor owed to me."

Marksberry wrote of his desire to see Grimes beat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, so he proposed that "if they would agree to find a spot on their campaign for my manager and payoff [sic] my web designer debt, then I would happily abide by their request."

Marksberry charged that Grimes's senior adviser, Jonathan Hurst, at first "freaked out" when Marksberry called him to discuss the deal that the unnamed go-between had agreed to, but he said that Hurst later called him back, apologized and said "everything is worked out."

"We had a deal, we didn't have a deal and then we had a deal," Marksberry wrote. "I didn't like what I just witnessed; they showed a lack of being cool under pressure and made me feel like a cheap prostitute."

Marksberry wrote that he ultimately decided not to make the alleged deal.

He is planning to run in the Senate race as an independent candidate.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog:

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