Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes said Thursday that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., will campaign in Kentucky against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Republicans appeared to welcome Warren, noting her rock-star status with liberals and her positions on coal and guns.
Warren seemed eager to join Grimes in her mission to unseat McConnell as he goes for a sixth term, in part as a way to exact a measure of political revenge for McConnell's leadership among Republicans on Wednesday in blocking a bill that dealt with refinancing student loan interest rates.
After the vote, Warren told MSNBC's Chris Hayes, "One way I'm going to start fighting back is I'm going to go down to Kentucky and I'm going to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes."
"She's tough, she's feisty, she endorsed the student loan bill, said she wanted to bring down interest rates for Kentuckians," Warren said.
"So my view is I'm going to get out there and try to make this happen for her."
Warren told viewers to go to Grimes' website, saying, "I hope lots of people give her money."
The Grimes campaign said that Warren would join Grimes in Kentucky "for multiple events, including a meeting with local college students and recent graduates to discuss their experiences and concerns."
"Our campaign welcomes Sen. Warren's support as she champions relief for Kentuckians crushed under the burden of student loan debt," campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said. "As hardworking families across the commonwealth struggle to make ends meet, college affordability is at the top of so many Kentuckians' minds. Unlike Mitch McConnell, who votes against helping students at every turn, Alison Lundergan Grimes will stand up for every Kentuckian who dreams of obtaining a college degree."
Hurst sent out a fundraising email with Warren's words and her plans to campaign with Grimes and asking for contributions.
"Sen. Warren is all-in for Alison because she knows Alison gets it," Hurst wrote. "Now we need to be all-in, too."
A former Harvard professor, Warren has long been a hero to the left, even before she defeated former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in 2012. They praised Warren for leading the charge for a consumer protection agency. In recent weeks, she has been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
McConnell and other Republicans were happy to see Warren booking a trip to the Bluegrass, saying in news releases that the "ultra-liberal" Warren called the recent proposed EPA regulations on power plants a "powerful step" and citing her support for various gun-control measures.
When Hayes' Twitter account blasted out the news that Warren would campaign for Grimes, Josh Holmes, McConnell's senior adviser, responded, "Yes please."
"Elizabeth Warren is yet another anti-coal liberal senator sent by Harry Reid and Barack Obama to assist in their effort to continue enacting their anti-Kentucky agenda by getting Alison Lundergan Grimes elected," said Allison Moore, McConnell's campaign spokeswoman. "If there are any questions as to where Alison stands on the issues, look no further than the records of those in her inner circle."
The Republican National Committee responded to the news by sending out a news release with the subject line: "No, this is not a joke."
Noting the recent dust-up over Grimes' fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republicans used the announcement of the Democratic teamwork to again try to paint Grimes as cut from the same cloth as national Democrats.
"After the last several days, there should be zero doubt about who Grimes really stands with and who she'd be a voice for in Washington — the fringe, anti-coal left who run the national Democrat Party and sneer at states like Kentucky," RNC spokesman Michael Short said in a statement.
Warren was bullish on Grimes, though, telling MSNBC that McConnell is serving in the Senate only for "millionaires and billionaires."
"You get Alison Lundergan Grimes in there, and I feel like she could almost single-handedly get rid of some of the gridlock here in Washington," Warren said.
Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.