REALITY CHECK: Facing resignation, bus controversy, Senate candi - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

REALITY CHECK: Facing resignation, bus controversy, Senate candidates debut ads

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – As Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates deal with a resignation and a possible campaign finance violation, they're picking up the pace with TV advertising.

Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign debuted two ads slamming Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, while Grimes ditches her usual strategy of criticizing McConnell and instead focuses on her own record.

The ads all include claims that need clarification, WAVE 3 News Reality Check found.

Grimes ad

Grimes, who opponents criticize as an inexperienced politician who will work closely with an unpopular President Barack Obama, seeks to highlight her own accomplishments as Kentucky's Secretary of State.

"I've worked with businesses large and small," Grimes says in the ad. "I know what it takes to bring good jobs to Kentucky."

As it pertains to job creation, Grimes' role as Secretary of State is mainly as a record-keeper of paperwork filed by businesses. The state Economic Development Cabinet is the main agency tasked with job growth.

In 2013, Grimes pushed legislation to create a uniform business identification number, which she said would simplify business owners' interaction with state government. The General Assembly eventually approved the measure.

Grimes also implemented a "one-stop" website that provided resources to entrepreneurs, although lawmakers approved the idea before she took office.

While she was running for Secretary of State in 2011, Grimes said "creating jobs is my No. 1 priority."

But Kentucky's employment numbers have been mostly flat since Grimes took office two-and-a-half years ago.

Total employment declined by 9,000 jobs from January 2012 through July 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The same data indicate the state gained 47,000 jobs over the same period before Grimes took office.

Grimes has repeatedly blamed McConnell for not being a bigger advocate for Kentucky jobs.

McConnell ads

McConnell debuted two ads criticizing Grimes for airing claims that WAVE 3 News has labeled "false" in the past. (Reality Check has also found McConnell claims to be false.)

One of the ads ties Grimes with Obama, which is a major McConnell campaign strategy, as it questions Grimes' past claims.

"Maybe it's because Grimes is hoping you don't ask her some questions, like why she was a delegate for Obama's reelection after he vowed to bankrupt Kentucky's coal industry," the announcer says.

Grimes was a delegate for the president's reelection in 2012, but the comment in question dates back to 2008, when Obama was a U.S. senator running for president.

"If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant, they can, but it will bankrupt them because they'll be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

Obama doesn't vow to bankrupt the coal industry in the recording. But Kentucky politicians, including Grimes, criticize his current environmental proposals as being harmful to the dwindling number of coal jobs in the state.

The other McConnell ad attacks Grimes' use of a bus owned by her father, former Kentucky Democratic Party leader Jerry Lundergan.

Politico reported last week that Grimes was renting the bus for far less than fair market value, and the Grimes campaign has struggled to explain itself. Federal law requires candidates to pay market value for goods and services from corporations.

The McConnell campaign uses a WAVE 3 News clip in the ad, but does so in a misleading way by cutting off the first part of a sentence citing the Politico story.

McConnell's campaign was also dealt a blow Friday evening when campaign manager Jesse Benton resigned while questions swirl about potential misconduct in a former campaign.

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