Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes promised to defend Kentucky's coal industry during a fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week, but she never mentioned coal during an 11-minute speech at the Washington, D.C., event, Politico reported Monday.
In an audio recording of the speech obtained by Politico, Grimes instead criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's record on jobs, the minimum wage and women's issues, prompting McConnell's campaign to accuse Grimes of misleading Kentucky voters.
"Alison Lundergan Grimes just did exactly what every Kentuckian knew she would — tell them one thing and do another with Harry Reid," McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said. "If there was any question about what she would do as a senator, this tape erased all doubt."
In the days leading up to the fundraiser, when Grimes and McConnell were battling over proposed new rules for carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said that "Alison is absolutely livid about the new rule and plans to use the event to share the stories of how Kentuckians are hurting and demand that the Senate take action to invest in clean coal technology."
The Grimes campaign and Reid's office objected to the Politico report, saying Grimes had a "private conversation" with Reid about the new EPA regulations.
According to Politico, one attendee said "there is no way" Reid and Grimes spoke in private because the majority leader arrived late and left early, but another unnamed Democrat told the website Grimes had spoken to Reid about coal by phone after the fundraiser.
Jonathan Hurst, Grimes' senior adviser, told the news organization that "Alison had strong words (with Reid) with regards to the EPA ruling."
"We definitely did exactly what we said we were going to do," Hurst said.