In an email sent Wednesday, the McDaniel campaign called on McConnell to “condemn the race-baiting ads funded by a super PAC directed by Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour.”
Why bring McConnell into this?
Because, according to the McDaniel campaign, McConnell called on his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, to denounce “similarly race-tinged language made by a Grimes supporter in Kentucky.”
I could find no evidence of McConnell himself demanding Grimes condemn the attacks on the Asian heritage of his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, but it does appear Kentucky Republican Party spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper did.
"The fact that it's been two full days since those atrocious comments were made by one of Alison Lundergan Grimes' close supporters and we've still heard nothing from her campaign is truly unacceptable," Cooper said on Monday, as quoted by USA Today.
Grimes’ campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton responded, saying Grimes had already condemned the language Saturday during a television interview and further called the attacks “uncalled for and unacceptable.”
But even accepting that McConnell, by extension of being a Republican supported by the Kentucky GOP, made the demands, it seems unlikely that he would jump in to help the McDaniel campaign.
For one, McConnell supported incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. For another, McConnell is in the middle of his own campaign, reacting to his own opponent’s supporters. Why would he take time out of his campaign, in the final three months, to help out a candidate who lost his election over a month ago?
When asked about this, McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch told the Washington Examiner it was because they wanted McConnell to show “true leadership.” Fritsch also blamed McConnell for the controversial ads.
“As Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell has the opportunity to show true leadership in this situation by publicly renouncing the [National Republican Senatorial Committee]'s, Henry Barbour's and his own financial support of race-baiting advertisements that disparaged conservatives in Mississippi and openly engaged in the sordid politics of racial division in order to scare Democrats into participating in a Republican primary,” Fritsch said.
And then Fritsch insinuated that all Republican senators who donated to Cochran who don’t ask for a refund are race-baiters:
“Any Republican senator who donated money to the Cochran campaign should immediately demand that that Cochran refund their donation, and refusal to do so is tacit acceptance of the race-baiting tactics employed by the Cochran campaign and Henry Barbour,” Fritsch said.
You see that, senators? Even if you donated to Cochran because you’re his friend, you support his votes or you’re trying to protect an incumbent, you approve of race baiting.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a question about whether he had also called for Grimes to denounce the attacks on Chao.
On Monday, McDaniel filed a legal challenge to the runoff election.
*No, McDaniel did not specifically say "declare me the winner," but he did say "We're not asking for a new election. We're simply asking that the Republican Party actually recognize the person who won the runoff election." Different words, same sentiment. The paraphrase I used was meant as a nickname.