- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates are bringing in a trio of potential presidential contenders to help boost voter turnout in the final week of one of the country’s most closely watched races.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will campaign with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville on Tuesday and Hillary Rodham Clinton will campaign with her on Saturday in Lexington and northern Kentucky. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will appear with Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell on Wednesday.

It’s the latest campaign stops for Clinton, Jindal and Warren - three high-profile politicians not on the ballot this year but who have taken advantage of high-stakes elections across the country to boost their profiles ahead of the 2016 presidential election. With Democrats and Republicans fighting for control of the Senate, the three politicians have swooped into key battleground contests in Arkansas, North Carolina, Georgia and Colorado.

Kentucky has been a magnet for big-name politicians as McConnell, the Senate minority leader, is trying to become the Senate majority leader while facing arguably the toughest re-election campaign of his 30-year career. Warren and Clinton are making their second trips to Kentucky for Grimes, who has already benefited from former President Bill Clinton’s three previous visits.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have traveled to Kentucky to support McConnell. And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - another potential 2016 GOP hopeful - stumped for McConnell in Louisville over the weekend.

Despite the high-profile help, McConnell’s campaign has stuck to one message: connecting Grimes to Democratic President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in the state. McConnell’s campaign continued that theme on Monday as the senator campaigned in eastern Kentucky’s coal country with country music star Lee Greenwood, noting Warren and Hillary Clinton’s previous support for Obama’s energy policies, which would restrict emissions at coal-fired power plants.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes has run a race heavily reliant on help from left-wing elites, so it’s not surprising that she would hand the mic to an anti-coal liberal to deliver her closing argument,” McConnell adviser John Ashbrook said.

The Grimes campaign was quick to note that Jindal, a former congressman, supported the Republicans’ failed social security reform package in 2005. The issue emerged again last week, when McConnell told the Louisville Rotary Club he worked to reform social security with former President George W. Bush.

“There is no doubt that privatizing Social Security is a top priority for Mitch McConnell and the DC insiders backing his increasingly desperate campaign,” Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said in a news release.


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