As he seeks to fend off a challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell has taken to accusing Grimes of perpetrating fraud on Kentucky voters, with the Republican authorizing mailers that warn voters they "are at risk of acting on fraudulent information."
Mailed in envelopes that blare "ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE" and state "You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information," the Kentucky Republican Party issued a letter that accuses Grimes of "blatant lies" about McConnell's advocacy for a local coal plant and his support from "anti-coal activists like Michael Bloomberg." The letter also takes Grimes to task for her support among "anti-coal and anti-gun" Hollywood celebrities and accuses her of hypocrisy in her call for an increased minimum wage because a restaurant owned by her family pays employees less than the minimum.
"This document serves as a notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area," the mailer reads.
"This information is provided as a public service," the letter concludes.
In a statement Friday, Kentucky Democratic Party chair Dan Logsdon condemned the mailers as "possibly illegal."
"After trying for 16 months to buy this election, Mitch McConnell and the out-of-state special interests that support him are now trying to steal Kentucky’s Senate seat using questionable and possibly illegal voter suppression tactics," Logsdon said. "The despicable mailers targeting Kentucky voters with misleading information are just another sign of Mitch McConnell's desperation as Kentuckians hold him accountable for his 30-year failed record in Washington," he added.
Indeed, it's hard to see the mailers as anything but a shameless effort to suppress voter turnout. Indicting Grimes for fraud and even suggesting "election violation[s]," the mailers make no affirmative case for re-electing the senator and instead seek to taint Grimes with accusations of sordid and (hint, hint) potentially criminal political tactics. A vote for Grimes, the mailers convey, is an illegitimate vote.
The rash of voter identification measures passed by GOP-led legislatures in recent years leave little doubt that the Republican Party sees suppressing the vote as its path to victory. But rarely have GOP campaigns been so transparent in their attempts to keep voters at home.
Here's the envelope in which the Kentucky GOP enclosed the letter:
And here's the letter: