McGrath Edits ‘Kentucky’ Out of National Ad Campaign

Amy McGrath / Getty Images

Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Amy McGrath has put near-identical ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.) on local Kentucky TV stations and on MSNBC—but the MSNBC ads omit mentions of Kentucky.

The McGrath campaign's two ads follow the same line of attack against McConnell and the coronavirus aid package he helped pass, but the ad aired to a national MSNBC audience removes the focus from Kentucky and focuses broadly on states across the country.

"Hundreds of billions for big corporations, $170 billion for wealthy investors, while small businesses suffer," the Kentucky ad said. "And he's refused to give more aid to Kentucky. He said the state should just declare ‘bankruptcy.'"

But the national ad makes no mention of the Bluegrass State, instead saying that McConnell "refused to give more money to states" and believes "they should just declare bankruptcy." Unlike the Kentucky ad, McGrath's national ad also concludes with a plea for contributions.

The $120,000 ad buy appeared on MSNBC from April 30 to May 1st. The McGrath campaign did not return the Washington Free Beacon‘s request for comment on the editing decisions.

McGrath's campaign to unseat McConnell has depended on contributions from outside the state of Kentucky, relying heavily on contributions from states like California, New York, and Massachusetts. Entering the last fundraising quarter, the McGrath campaign had received just 1 percent of its contributions from inside Kentucky.

In February, the McGrath campaign also circulated national and statewide ads with key differences, promising Kentucky viewers that McGrath would oppose left-wing policies but omitting those promises in the national version of the ad. McGrath's Kentucky ad expressed opposition to free college and Medicare for All, which her national ad omitted in favor of a plea for contributions. The language opposing free college and Medicare for All was also absent from fundraising emails at the time.

Democratic primary opponent Mike Broihier called out McGrath for altering her message in pleas for out-of-state donations. 

"In her ads here in Kentucky, [McGrath] says she is against free college and Medicare for All. In her ads running in other states, she removed these lines," Broihier said in a tweet at the time. "What does McGrath actually believe?"

The McGrath campaign has advertised to a national audience since its Senate bid launched in July. McGrath did not utter "Kentucky" once throughout her 3-minute campaign launch video.