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Senate Election 2014: Kentucky Democrat Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes Criticized for 'Illegal' Immigrant Statement

First Posted: Oct 14, 2014 03:16 PM EDT

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes had their first debate ahead of midterm Election Day, but it's the Democratic Senate candidate that's receiving criticism for her latest immigration campaign advertisement.

The Grimes' campaign launched its "Largest Ever" television advertisement, which labeled McConnell's comments on Grimes' immigration stance as "false," "bizarre" and "hypocritical." The advertisement's narrator then accused McConnell of voting to "give amnesty and taxpayer-funded benefits" to 3 million "illegal aliens." The Grimes campaign referenced two pieces of legislation from Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1985 and 1986.

"Mitch is at the heart of everything that's wrong in Washington, from hypocrisy, to greed, to gridlock," the narrator said before Grimes appeared and commented on immigration.

"I'm Alison Lundergan Grimes, and I approve this message because I've never supported amnesty or benefits for illegal immigrants, and I never will."

The Grimes campaign's advertisement against McConnell refutes the pro-McConnell group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition's video described as "Obama and Grimes. Two liberals for amnesty. Too liberal for us." The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition's attack ad stated Grimes supports President Barack Obama's "amnesty plan."

"[Obama and Grimes'] plan is citizenship for millions who broke the law. Illegal immigrants would become eligible for taxpayer-funded benefits -- food stamps, unemployment, even Medicare," the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition narrator said.

Grimes' campaign website does not feature her stance on immigration. Latin Post contacted the Grimes campaign for clarification on her immigration position and the "Largest Ever" advertisement. The campaign did not respond.

In September, Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton told Politico, "Mitch McConnell voted against immigration reform that would have helped Kentucky farmers and secured our border by putting thousands more agents on the border. Alison opposes President Obama in any attempt to alter our immigration system by executive order and believes Congress needs to do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform."

"Alison Ludergan Grimes is trying to play the anti-immigrant card. She's gotten into the race to the bottom with Sen. McConnell on who can bash on immigrants the most, which is pretty much as low as you can get, frankly, when you look at McConnell," Presente.org Executive Director Arturo Carmona told BuzzFeed News. "She's basically using the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants to advance her political aspirations. It's totally morally reprehensible. It represents the worst of the Democratic Party and an increasingly dying breed across the nation when you look at the Democratic Party in particular."

Grimes "Largest Ever" Attack Ad:

According to a Bluegrass Poll by SurveyUSA, Grimes has a 2-percentage point lead against McConnell. In a survey with 730 Kentucky registered voters between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, Grimes received 46 percent to McConnell's 44 percent.

"After fourteen straight public polls all showing Sen. McConnell with a clear lead, this Bluegrass Poll is obviously an outlier," McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement, via The Courier-Journal. "We're very comfortable with where this race stands and are confident Sen. McConnell will be re-elected in November."

Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said the latest polling data "reflects the overwhelming grassroots enthusiasm Alison and our campaign see everyday across the commonwealth."

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