Democratic primary challengers open up about race, Grimes


by Joe Arnold

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 5:32 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – You’ve heard a lot about the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky.

The heated race for the Kentucky Senate seat is making national headlines with businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, current Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell fighting for the coveted seat.

The Kentucky primary is one week from Tuesday and three other Democrats are joining Grimes on the ballot.

“This campaign [is] very much run by the seat of the pants,” Senate candidate Greg Leichty says about his campaign.

Leichty is not kidding. His website and Facebook page are about all the campaign apparatus the University of Louisville communications professor has.

Leichty says he uses his social media to primarily target Democratic activists.

“People who are more likely to not only vote in the primary but influence other people to vote in the primaries,” Leichty said.

Like Leichty, Democratic primary candidate Tom Recktenwald also does not report raising any money for his campaign. He uses YouTube to deliver his message.

“A vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes is a vote for business as usual,” he says in the video.

The challengers are critical of big money in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race saying both Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes are beholden to wealthy donors.

“She's constantly jet setting around the country to such exotic locales as Martha's Vineyard, Las Vegas and San Francisco to raise money for her campaign,” Recktenwald says in a second YouTube video.

“We are so proud of the work we have done in fundraising. Having our average contribution be $25 and we are going to continue to work very hard raising the most out of Kentucky than anybody has ever raised and we’ve got people all across this nation who are joining us,” Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), Kentucky, said.

Though Leichty says Grimes is fairly solid on core Democratic issues such as raising the minimum wage and fighting right to work laws, he says she ignores problems with the banking system -- and questions her support of the coal industry.

“She doesn’t put a high priority on environmental issues at all. I do,” Leichty said.

Though neither Leichty, Recktenwald or perennial Democratic candidate Burrell Charles Farnsley show up in the polls, Leichty says environmental issues give him an opening, not just in the primary, but this fall, too.

“Of course Mitch McConnell is a smart man, he knows that climate change is real. Anybody who knows something is true but then disregards that is frankly not fit to hold higher office,” Leichty said.