Third-party Kentucky Senate candidate Ed Marksberry claimed that the campaign of Mitch McConnell’s Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes bribed him to drop out of the race.
Marksberry, a Democratic primary prospect who subsequently launched an independent campaign against McConnell and Grimes, detailed his accusations in a 15-page narrative published on PageOneKentucky.com that has been disputed by the Grimes campaign.
“They said that Jerry really liked me and that Jerry takes care of his friends. And if Alison wins, there could be a favor owed to me. Whatever that means, I don’t know, but I took it that if I ever needed some help in the future, I could call in my political equity with him,” Marksberry wrote, referring to Grimes’ father Jerry Lundergan, former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Marksberry offered a vivid account of the alleged conversation.
“About 2:00 pm and drive over and meet this person and here is the conversation as best I remember. We had a pleasant greeting I sat down in their office and asked so what did you want to talk to me about? Their words; ‘They want to ask you to step out of the race and they understand you have some debts with your campaign and they can take care of it if you want, the money is there and they can make it happen if you want to.’ I leaned way back and looked at the ceiling, right then I knew what I had to do,” Marksberry wrote, adding that he said “it’s not about the money” but rather the principle.
“They (the person) said ‘you don’t know how much pressure we’ve been getting to get you (me) out of this race, a ton of pressure,’” Marksberry recounted.
The Grimes campaign flatly denied the accusation without getting into the specifics of Marksberry’s version of events.
“That did not happen. We appreciate Ed’s support and wish him the best,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in response.
McConnell only led Grimes 43 percent to 42 percent in a mid-December poll.