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Romney Stumps For McConnell At Lexington Horse Farm

Josh James

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney headlined a fundraiser for Sen. Mitch McConnell in Lexington Thursday.

"I'm here to officially endorse Mitch McConnell for United States Senate," he began, addressing reporters after the fundraiser.

The one-time Massachusetts governor said a Republican majority in the Senate with McConnell at the helm would be good for Kentucky and good for the country.  

The 2012 presidential contender became the latest in a string of political heavyweights to stump for candidates in Kentucky’s high-profile Senate race. At the private fundraiser at Donamire Farm, Romney told reporters he’s focused on backing his fellow Republicans in the midterm elections and not another presidential run in 2016.

Romney argued a Republican Congress could reshape the debate in Washington on defense and other GOP priorities.

"What you're going to see when there's a Republican Senate and Mitch McConnell is the leader, you're going to see pieces of legislation the American people want to see passed," he said.

Credit Josh James / WUKY
A protester's sign held by a demonstrator outside the McConnell fundraiser

A less receptive audience waited outside the heavily-guarded event, however, as a small group of protesters with MoveOn.org, the AFL-CIO, and others gathered near the entrance. Demonstrator and Kentucky AFL-CIO president Bill Londrigan said Romney’s presence is further evidence that McConnell favors wealthy corporate interests over workers.

"There are other people out here they should be looking at instead of just passing us by in their Mercedes-Benz," he said. "They need to know that there are people out here who are hurting."

While no stranger to high-profile fundraisers, McConnell challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes took Romney to task for his now-famous “47 percent” remark. In August, a Grimes spokesperson dubbed the McConnell and the 2012 presidential contender a "one-two punch that can only further devastate Kentucky's middle class."

And while Romney failed to capture the White House in 2012, he won Kentucky with a landslide 60 percent of the vote - more than enough to convince the McConnell campaign that the appearance could help come November.

Romney joins former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who campaigned for the senator in March, and former President George H.W. Bush, who sent a fundraising email to McConnell supporters over the weekend.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.