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A group whose aim is to elect progressive Democrats to Congress released an ad Tuesday hitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for opposing gun control legislation while receiving campaign donations from gun manufacturers.
The ad from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, is backed by a $27,700 buy and will run on broadcast and cable television in McConnell's home state, as well as in Washington, D.C.
The PCCC ad features Kentuckian Rodney Kendrick addressing the camera with his grandson on his lap, calling it “unthinkable that guns meant for war could be used on civilians and children.”
"I was born and raised right here in Kentucky," Kendrick says in the spot. "I served my country as a marksman and we were trained to use guns safely. It's unthinkable that guns meant for war could be used on civilians and children. As a gun owner and a veteran, I support the plan to ban assault weapons and keep guns out of the wrong hands, because I know these guns. I know what they can do."
"Senator Mitch McConnell has taken thousands of dollars from gun manufacturers, and he opposes common sense reforms," he continued. "Senator McConnell, whose side are you on?"
McConnell, who is serving his fifth term in the Senate, faces re-election next year, and is hoping to fend off any possible conservative primary challenges. Actress Ashley Judd has been mentioned as a potential Democratic rival.
The Hill reports:
The group also commissioned polling from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that indicates Kentuckians do want to see movement on gun control, despite McConnell’s outspoken opposition to the measures proposed by President Obama.
Eighty-two percent of likely Kentucky voters support background checks “to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” while 13 percent oppose them, the poll found.
There is less consensus in the state, however, about proposals to ban assault weapons. Fifty percent of likely Kentucky voters surveyed support a ban, while 42 percent oppose one.
Adam Green, a former staffer for MoveOn.org and co-founder of the PCCC, said the group’s effort reflects a discrepancy between the senator’s legislative views and his constituents’ demands.
“He’s the most powerful Republican in the Senate and way too often abuses Senate rules to block progress with no accountability back home,” Green said.
McConnell’s campaign hit back at the PCCC in a blog post on the senator’s reelection website, portraying the group as “so liberal it attacks Obama from the Left,” and said that the PCCC is "out of touch" with Kentuckians.
In a recent Courier-Journal poll, McConnell's opponents outnumbered his supporters:
In the poll of 609 registered voters, 34 percent said they plan to vote against McConnell — while just 17 percent say they will vote to give him six more years. Forty-four percent said they will wait to see who is running against him before deciding, and 6 percent said they are not sure.
The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. It comes as groups on both McConnell’s right and left seek candidates to challenge him in the primary and general elections in 2014. McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the Senate as minority leader, is seeking his sixth term.
Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, dismissed the poll as “nothing more than an irresponsible way to stir up cheap headlines.”
Jay Leve, editor and founder of SurveyUSA, responded to Benton's comments with "We regret that the results, in this case, frighten the minority leader.”
“I think Sen. McConnell’s record is finally catching up to him," said State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon. "You can’t go to Washington and have your sole purpose not to help Kentucky or not to get us out of our economic situation,” Logsdon said, noting that McConnell once said his primary goal was to make President Barack Obama a one-term president. “People are sick and tired of this.”