Chelsea Clinton Stumps For Her Mom During Lexington Visit
The daughter of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is hitting the stump ahead of state primary contests.
Clinton supporters survey tables lined with 2016 gear - from hats in all colors, including camouflage, to buttons of Bill and Hillary reading “42 and 45 coming soon!” In the one-room campaign office located in a shopping center just off Winchester Road, they're packed tight to hear from the guest of honor.
Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes provides the warm-up. "Is Kentucky Clinton country? Let me hear you say yes!" she chants to applause.
A pregnant Chelsea Clinton soon takes the mic to rally the troops. Lamenting the "racist," sexist", and "homophobic" tenor of the GOP primary, Clinton reminds the crowd the stakes are high in this election and stresses the importance of turnout.
"A majority of registered voters haven't turned out to vote, so I hope that you will defy that here in Kentucky and have extraordinary turnout and particularly have extraordinary turnout among young people," she says.
One voter who took that message to heart is Marsha Rase, who has been phone banking for the campaign. A longtime Clinton fan, she has no illusions about the uphill climb the Democrat faces in a state that's trending redder every year.
"She'll win the primary, but I'm not sure about the general," she acknowledges. "We're going to have to work on it."
The former first daughter did not indicate whether her mother plans to visit Kentucky, but the Democratic hopeful has grabbed local headlines in recent months by siding against Gov. Matt Bevin on education cuts and suggesting lots of coal companies will soon go out of business.
Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Tres Watson seized on that second quote, issuing a statement urging the younger Clinton to visit the “thousands of coal miners President Obama has sent to the unemployment lines and the thousands more her mother Hillary has promised to put out of work.”
Former assistant to Gov. Steve Beshear Colmon Eldridge said Clinton’s comments need some context.
"There's some funny wording going on in terms of how the Republicans want to play this, but ultimately what Sec. Clinton was talking about was the ability to diversify the economy in coal country," he explains.
The last time Kentucky went blue in a presidential election was 1996, when the commonwealth helped deliver Hillary’s husband a second term, but supporters acknowledge she faces a much steeper climb in 2016.
Kentucky Democrats head to the polls to select a nominee on May 17.