Elections

Political Paddock: How bad is the Senate race going to get? Larry Flynt just weighed in

Hustler founder Larry Flynt, shown in 2011, assailed McConnell over a report that the McConnell campaign was reimbursing volunteers to join the senator at events on the campaign trail.
Hustler founder Larry Flynt, shown in 2011, assailed McConnell over a report that the McConnell campaign was reimbursing volunteers to join the senator at events on the campaign trail. Associated Press file photo

Brace yourself, Bluegrass. We've got about a week to go, and there are signs that we are in for one of the ugliest political weeks imaginable.

Consider that in the depressing book of Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race, cockfighting, Duke basketball, a Ukrainian male model and, most recently, Hugh Jass Burgers have all had their chapters.

There have been no fewer than five secret recordings, the guy who directed Clerks used to own one of the campaign's buses and a Democratic activist declared an Asian-American's ethnicity to be "fair game."

Surely it can't get any worse.

Of course it can get worse. It has. It will. And don't call me Shirley.

In what has been a marathon race to the bottom, both the campaigns of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes continued to be in fine form this past Friday.

McConnell, in a late Friday news dump, let Politico know that he was putting $1.8 million of his own money in the race.

Shattering his own record for total fundraising with an overall sum of more than $28 million was not enough, apparently.

And this is for a job that pays $193,400 a year.

On Friday, the Grimes campaign circulated a New York Times story that it had fed to The New York Times.

Dallas Knierman appeared in a McConnell ad released last week in which she and three other women say that Grimes "wants me to believe that strong women and strong values are incompatible."

The problem, the paper noted, is that Knierman is registered to vote in Pennsylvania. She is a student at the University of Louisville.

According to the Times, "the discrepancy was pointed out by the Grimes campaign."

Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State, has said throughout the campaign that she is fighting for Kentucky women. Apparently they have to be registered to vote here.

The response to the Times from Josh Holmes, McConnell's campaign manager: "Obviously as a college student she hasn't changed her registration from where she grew up but that doesn't make her any less qualified to speak as a young woman who lives in Kentucky."

How can it get worse?

Well, Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler, got involved Monday.

In a statement posted on his website, Flynt assailed McConnell over a report that his campaign was reimbursing volunteers to join the senator at events on the campaign trail — a story the Grimes campaign had spent most of last week pushing.

"As a native son of Kentucky, I'm shocked and dismayed by the reports of Sen. McConnell's demeaning actions," Flynt said in the statement. "An appropriate word to describe feigning pleasure for money is prostitution, so it appears the state GOP is running a voter prostitution ring. Paying people to pretend to be having a love affair with a candidate, and then retailing those pictures as something real, is outrageous and obscene."

Flynt said that McConnell, by engaging in what is actually a fairly commonplace campaign tactic, "has insulted the citizens of Kentucky."

"He owes them an apology and a promise that he won't stoop to this type of chicanery again," Flynt said.

So there you have it, Kentucky. The publisher of Hustler has declared a practice in the U.S. Senate race "outrageous and obscene."

He must have just tuned in.

The good and welcome news is that it will be over in a week.

So we'll know soon just how ugly a week it can be.

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