Alison Lundergan Grimes Really Wants You to Know How Much She Likes Guns

Matt Berman
National Journal

The week's almost over, and political campaigns know as well as anyone that it's hard to get traction on a Friday afternoon. So the campaign of Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has decided to shake things up a bit.

A little after 1 p.m., Grimes's campaign sent out a press blast inviting Mitch McConnell "to join her on gun range." The full text:

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As an NRA member, my strong support for the Second Amendment is unquestioned. I am proud of Kentucky's long-held gun ownership, sporting and hunting traditions. It is unfortunate that Senator McConnell is desperate to mislead Kentucky voters about my strong support for the Second Amendment. In the Senate, I will protect my fellow Kentuckians' right to keep and bear arms. Whenever he's not busy pandering to Washington lobbyists, I welcome Senator McConnell to come shoot with me at the range any day.

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The photo up top came along as well. The thing is, as random as this may seem, it's actually pretty important for Grimes's Senate chances for you to know that she's a big fan of guns. Because the National Rifle Association is already getting ready to spend big in the race.

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This Friday, Mitch McConnell is getting the NRA's "Defender of Freedom" award. And it's planning on throwing its full financial weight into the race. "We're going to make sure that gun owners in Kentucky understand that they have a champion representing them in the United States Senate," NRA lobbyist Chris Cox told Kentucky's Lexington Herald-Leader this week. With more than $11 million on hand for 2014, the NRA's support for McConnell, Cox says, will be at full strength.

And Kentuckians believe that guns do more good for society than ill by a 65 percent to 27 percent margin, according to a Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll from earlier this year. There was some wiggle room here for reformers, though: 75 percent of respondents support background checks on gun buyers. The Grimes-McConnell race appears to be massively tight, and although there's a long way to go until Election Day, an issue like gun rights could be a difference maker. 

Of course, Grimes didn't mention any of that in her press statement. But no seemingly-random political email lives in a vacuum.

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