Leaning on labor and surrogates, Grimes promises 'revolution'

LOUISVILLE — Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday told union members from around the state and the country that electing her next Tuesday would be a "revolution."

Grimes, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate hoping to deny U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a sixth term, was joined by the presidents of three national labor groups and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 369 meeting hall. As Grimes heads down the home stretch, she is pinning her hopes on surrogates and unions to help her turn out voters.

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"You are my secret weapon," Grimes told the cheering crowd. "You are what is going to bring this Kentucky filly across the winner's circle and ... put him out to pasture."

There was loud music and chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Mitch McConnell's got to go," as Grimes blasted McConnell's 30 years in office.

"He wants a bigger office," Grimes said. "Well, I want you to get a bigger paycheck."

Grimes and McConnell have crisscrossed the state, unveiled ad after ad and employed a team of high-profile surrogates as both try to turn out their voters and bring home a victory.

"We are one week away from ... the nation watching us do what they said was impossible," Grimes said. "This revolution that's here in this labor hall, well, it won't be televised. They won't believe we've done it until we have it done."

Warren, who had already visited the state once for Grimes, said that "the whole country is watching Kentucky."

"You've got this gutsy gal who has taken on the Number One Republican in the United States Senate," Warren said. "And all over this country, the question is: Can she beat him?" The crowd roared its belief that she can.

To do it, Grimes will need to turn out more Democratic voters than usually participate in midterm elections, and she is depending on big labor to help.

The heads of three major unions — Leo Gerard, president of the United Steel Workers, Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers and Ed Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — made sure there was plenty of red meat in the hall.

"We've had people come from all over America to help us ditch Mitch," said Bill Londrigan, president of Kentucky's AFL-CIO.

Asking for a show of hands from those who had traveled from out of state, Londrigan encouraged those whose hands shot up to say where they were from, and shouts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey rang out from the crowd.

Londrigan then asked the crowd to imagine waking up on Nov. 5 with McConnell as majority leader of the U.S. Senate and Kentucky statehouse minority leader Jeff Hoover as speaker of the House, calling the scenario a "damn nightmare."

Gerard was equally blunt in his assessment of McConnell, noting that the senator had opposed the automakers bailout and calling him a "no-good SOB."

The McConnell campaign, in a statement from spokeswoman Allison Moore, said that "throughout her campaign, Alison Grimes has made it perfectly clear that she would model herself after the most dogmatically loyal Obama lieutenants in the U.S. Senate, and yet another visit from Elizabeth Warren is the perfect capstone."

"The fact that Grimes is so comfortable campaigning with a senator who aggressively works against Kentucky is a stark reminder of her loyalty to Obama over the commonwealth," Moore said.

The parade of surrogates showed no signs of slowing down. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making her second visit to the Bluegrass on Grimes' behalf, joining her at rallies in Northern Kentucky and in Lexington on Saturday.

Former President Bill Clinton will return to the state for Grimes on Thursday, and the campaign also announced that on Wednesday, North Dakota Democratic U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp will join Grimes for a series of events.

McConnell will have some visitors Wednesday as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential candidate; Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and unsuccessful candidate for governor of California; and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt will all join McConnell in Jeffersontown for a "Restore America" rally.