WASHINGTON DC. –A national PAC is hoping they can help to unseat U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.
The left-leaning group Ditch Mitch Fund is already spending big money against the Republican in Kentucky. The organization has spent about $500,000 on advertising against McConnell, the Executive Director Ryan Aquilina says the PAC has only one mission.
“We are a grassroots funded organization that is solely dedicated to defeating Mitch McConnell and replacing him with a Democrat,” Aquilina said. “To date we have raised about $5 million from entirely in small grassroots small dollar fundraising side, our average gift is about $23.”
Most of the money raised comes from outside of Kentucky, but Aquilina says voters in Kentucky have also contributed to the fund.
“We don’t claim to be a Kentucky only organization we are a national organization so the vast majority of our fundraising is from outside of the state,” Aquilina said.
Mitch McConnell is no stranger to fundraising himself and will have a war chest for the PAC and Democratic nominee to compete with. According to the last Federal Election Commission report McConnell had $9 million on hand and will likely be getting help from national groups himself.
While most of the fundraising is coming from outside the Bluegrass State the advertising dollars will be spent here in state. Aquilina says all of the ads will be focused on one central theme: McConnell doesn’t care about Kentucky.
“Mitch McConnell is looking out for himself he is not fighting for Kentucky in Washington,” Aquilina said. “It’s going to be a central theme of this campaign the next eleven-twelve months here, that Mitch McConnell is looking out for himself, his special interest donors and he’s not fighting for Kentucky in Washington.”
McConnell’s campaign says the ad airing on the Kentucky airwaves right now is deceiving.
“It’s a racist and misleading ad that does more for the Washington-based grifters who produced it than it does for the coastal elites who paid to put it on television,” McConnell Campaign Manager Kevin Golden said. “The next time Kentuckians are interested In the opinion of a bunch of liberal political activists in Washington DC it will be the first.”
The advertising campaign will not only be television ads but radio and digital ads, and eventually an on the ground campaign. Currently, the fund doesn’t have any employees in Kentucky.
Aquilina says they plan to spend money early to make sure their message gets across to Kentuckians. Most of the ads will be against Mitch McConnell but the group says the will be supporting the Democratic nominee.
“We believe that in order for these candidates who are running on the Democratic side to introduced themselves and share their vision, we need to be able to be able to hold Mitch accountable,” Aquilina said. “One of Mitch’s favorite things to do is to get in the mud, that’s how he wins re-election.”
Golden disputes the PAC’s claim that McConnell doesn’t work for Kentuckians citing his work in the past months securing $31.5 million in federal grants to help fight the opioid epidemic in Kentucky and $25 million to fight Asian carp control, as well as several transportation funding grants. McConnell’s campaign also points to legislation introduced to securing back pay for Black Jewel Miners and his new designation as a distinguished rural Kentuckian from the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. McConnell was also instrumental in securing hemp legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill.
While the organization has not picked a candidate they support in the potentially crowded Democratic Primary they believe former fighter pilot Amy McGrath is the front runner in part due to her fundraising.
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