Politics & Government

Grimes raises money with opponents of coal-fired power; McConnell attends pro-coal rally

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes was raising money for her U.S. Senate campaign with opponents to coal-fired power on the same day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined a pro-coal rally in Washington.

Grimes was scheduled to be in San Francisco on Tuesday for a fundraiser with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and other prolific Democratic fundraisers. Newsom, one of the hosts of the fundraiser, according to an invitation obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader, has long advocated for a clean-energy economy.

In a 2011 news conference at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, Newsom argued that there are more jobs in developing renewable energy than in retrofitting coal-fired power plants.

"You can go back to the old economy and the fuels from hell, the coal economy and nuclear, or you can get into the renewable economy and actually create more jobs, reduce your costs, and begin to focus on the global perspective and be more competitive with smart infrastructure and 21st century infrastructure," Newsom said.

Grimes' fundraiser came as McConnell joined pro-coal advocates in Washington for a "Count on Coal" rally, where, hundreds of miners and their families rallied against the EPA and what Republicans charge is President Barack Obama's "war on coal."

In a statement, Grimes' spokeswoman Charly Norton defended coal while attacking McConnell, saying that if Grimes is senator, she "will stand up to members of her own party and continue to support the coal industry and its miners."

"She will reach across the aisle to fight for incentives for companies to continue to invest in coal, push for loan guarantees from the federal government for clean-coal technology and facility upgrades, and help protect Kentucky jobs," Norton said.

She said that "despite spending nearly 30 years in Washington, Mitch McConnell has failed to deliver solutions that could end the devastating job loss felt in Eastern and Western Kentucky."

The fundraiser was a cocktail reception Tuesday evening at the home of longtime Democratic fundraisers Mark and Susie Tompkins Buell.