The 60-second commercial released Saturday features Republican Governor’s Mike DeWine (Ohio) and Larry Hogan (Maryland) complimenting them on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just like when I served in combat we can see our leaders on the front lines only this time it’s in our state, Republican Governors like Mike DeWine in Ohio and Larry Hogan of Maryland and Democrats like Andrew Cuomo in New York and our own governor Andy Beshear they’re all showing us what real leadership is and political party has nothing to do with it,” McGrath says in the ad.
Ohio Gov. DeWine is now calling on the McGrath campaign to remove his image from the latest attack ad against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, the Ohio Republican Party released a statement over the weekend rebuking McGrath.
“Ohioans are focused exclusively on getting through COVID-19 and getting our people back to work and I’m proud to work with partners at the local and federal level to get it done,” the statement from DeWine reads. “It’s a reason that I’m particularly disappointed with an attack ad by Amy McGrath that uses my image against my friend, Mitch McConnell. Mitch and I worked together for a long time and I know that he is focused, as I am, on this crisis and I appreciate his leadership. I ask for the McGrath campaign to remove my image from her advertising immediately.”
The McGrath campaign, however, is standing by the ad and says the partisan pushback to the campaign is part of the problem.
“This is exactly what’s wrong with politics. Every comment is, unfortunately, examined through a red or blue lens,” McGrath said in a statement to Spectrum News 1. "In this case, I'm pointing out that leadership doesn't depend on your political jersey color. It's about your actions. Governors on both sides of the aisle are doing important work. Governor DeWine is one of them. It is disappointing that he rejects sincere appreciation from a Democrat, and it shows how far we have strayed from our ideals as a nation. I strongly stand by my ad.”
DeWine is not the only governor to push back against his image being used in an attack ad, Maryland Gov. Hogan called the ad “not constructive” in a post on his Twitter account.
McConnell's campaign responded to the ad as well claiming she was using popular governor's to "score cheap political points."
“In the same 60 seconds, Amy McGrath claims the coronavirus pandemic response is not about politics while she exploits the image of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for her own political gain. Governors across the nation, as well as Leader McConnell, are focused on navigating their states through this unprecedented pandemic regardless of approval ratings," McConnell Campaign Press Secretary Kate Cooksey said in a statement.
McGrath is the presumed frontrunner in a crowded Democrat primary of candidates hoping to take on McConnell in November.
McGrath has raised a war chest of money comparable to McConnell’s but several grassroots Democratic organizations have been endorsing her opponents. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth's New Power PAC have thrown their support behind State Rep. Charles Booker, D-Louisville, while Indivisible Kentucky has endorsed Farmer and retired marine Mike Broihier.
Kentucky voters will get a chance to see three of the candidates square off in a televised forum on Kentucky Educational Television. The forum on June 1 will feature McGrath, Booker, and Broihier.