Likely Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes is embarking on a 50-county bus tour to promote her economic plan ahead of the May 20 primary.
With U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell engaged in the final days of his primary race against Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, Grimes will use the lead-up to the May 20 primary to introduce herself to voters.
The bus tour is scheduled to begin Friday in McCracken County and end on the day of the primary in Lexington.
"As the divisive GOP primary rages on, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike are excited to get involved in our grassroots campaign," Elizabeth Cantrell, Grimes' political director said in a statement. "The overwhelming enthusiasm around Alison's candidacy is unmatched as her action plan is the only (one) in this race that will encourage businesses to grow, take full advantage of our natural resources, expand our education opportunities and, most importantly, invest in what's best about the commonwealth: our people."
Bevin unveiled his jobs plan in late April.
Grimes has kept a low profile for most of the year, doing intermittent events to promote her jobs plan while focusing on fundraising.
While the Grimes campaign often refers to the candidate's jobs plan as "specific" or "detailed," the candidate could not, in a March interview with the Herald-Leader, say how much the plan would cost, how it would be paid for or how many jobs it would create. Instead, she said that the plan's potential is "limitless."
"Well at the end of the day, if we follow the plan, it is unlimited the possibilities that are out there for uplift throughout Kentucky regardless of the area of the state," Grimes said. "If done properly, there's no one single bullet that is going to solve all of our economic woes, but this is about doing the right thing over a sufficient period of time."
A significant portion of the plan would require substantial federal investment, including numerous unspecified tax breaks for businesses and billions for road projects, something Grimes acknowledged during the March interview.
When pressed about how she would pay for the plan and whether that would involve raising taxes or borrowing more money, Grimes returned to her criticism of McConnell.
"I think this recognizes the need for restrained spending, but for a recognition of values that are important here in Kentucky that Mitch McConnell has lost sight of a long time ago," she said. "And you only have to look to the government shutdown of 16 days that Mitch McConnell put forth and didn't step forward to end until it was affecting political numbers that there's a cost to partisanship: $24 billion. Here in Kentucky, $127 million that was lost as a result of that government shutdown."
The Grimes campaign, in announcing the bus tour Wednesday, said that the tour "will visit all corners of the commonwealth and further underscore the stark contrast between Alison's vision to strengthen Kentucky's middle class and McConnell's lack of a plan for the future."
The McConnell campaign responded by noting Grimes will spend May 9-May 20 campaigning instead of working as secretary of state and seeking to raise expectations for Grimes' own primary against lesser-known candidates.
"It is no surprise that Alison Lundergan Grimes is continuing to abdicate her responsibility as secretary of state to boost herself politically after she's spent the last eight months everywhere but Kentucky pandering to Barack Obama donors," said Allison Moore, McConnell's spokeswoman. "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."
Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com