FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Amy McGrath has punched back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of seeking a political windfall from an economic aid package while the coronavirus crisis worsens.
McGrath’s campaign released a TV ad Friday lambasting the Kentucky Republican for “taking a victory lap against the coronavirus.” It’s a quick response by his most well-funded Democratic challenger to a McConnell commercial in which he trumpeted his key role in passing the $2.2 trillion rescue package.
The McGrath ad says McConnell’s “victory lap” comes at a time when millions are losing their jobs and medical experts predict hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from the pandemic.
McConnell’s campaign said in a statement that it was McGrath who was seeking political advantage in a time of crisis.
“Sen. McConnell led the Senate to unanimously pass the largest economic relief package in history that will put money directly into the wallets of Kentuckians, help our small businesses stay afloat, and provide hospitals and health care workers with funds they need for treatment and equipment,” said McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden.
The $2.2 trillion federal legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks. It will send unprecedented billions to states, local governments, and the nation’s all but overwhelmed health care system.
The two campaigns have continued their political feuding as the virus has spread.
The new ads also foreshadow likely themes if the two square off in Kentucky’s premier fall campaign — McConnell touting his leadership role as the top-ranking Republican on Capitol Hill, and McGrath arguing the longtime senator is out of touch with voters and was slow to respond to the crisis.
McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot, has already run a series of TV ads to raise her statewide name recognition and attack McConnell. She is by far the best funded of several Democrats vying to unseat McConnell, who is seeking a seventh term.
Kentucky’s primary election, usually in late May, was pushed back to June 23 due to the virus.