On July 2, the campaign of 71-year-old Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a YouTube video attacking his 34-year-old Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. The unusual campaign ad has already gone viral, attracting more than 400,000 views in just two days.
While the one-and-a-half minute video, titled “What Rhymes With Alison Lundergan Grimes?”, is more style than substance, that simplicity has not limited its popularity. Viewers learn that “Not Ready for Prime Time” and “Left Wing Mime,” among other phrases, rhyme with Grimes in screen captions set to an Auto-Tune melody.
For Grimes, it was the second negative event in the first week of her young campaign. The Monday press conference at which she announced her intention to run for McConnell’s seat was widely panned by friend and foe alike, including writers at the Washington Post and local Kentucky journalists. Ms. Grimes, who appeared half an hour late at her own event, stumbled repeatedly and appeared to be unprepared, a theme re-enforced by the McConnell video.
Several supporters who attended the event were shocked by Grimes’ lack of preparation. One called the event “unorthodox,” while another bluntly called it “surreal.”
Before Senator McConnell can compete directly with Ms. Grimes in the general election, he must win the Republican nomination in the May 2014 primary. No credible primary challenger to McConnell has announced yet. However, Kentucky political insiders believe that a challenger may announce in the near future, and that an endorsement of that challenger by the United Kentucky Tea Party, an informal coalition of more than a dozen local Kentucky Tea Party groups, will soon follow.
The successful use of YouTube to attack his younger opponent is a clear indication that the septuagenarian McConnell has at least one more strong campaign in him, and he intends to use the latest campaign tools to his advantage, whether it be against a primary opponent or a general election opponent.