In a U.S. Senate race largely focused on coal, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has won an endorsement from the United Mine Workers of America. Grimes is trying to unseat Kentucky’s five-term Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
In a statement, UMWA President Cecil Roberts called Grimes not just a strong supporter of coal, but of coal miners.
"She cares about their health and safety on the job. She cares about what happens to them once they retire after a career of dangerous, backbreaking work," Roberts remarked. "She cares about what happens to their families, and what can be done to make their communities stronger."
Roberts chided Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for voting against a measure last week related to pensions and health care for retirees.
McConnell has tried to paint Grimes as enemy of coal by linking her to Obama administration regulations, including new rules on emissions from coal-burning power plants.
McConnell’s campaign reacted to the UMWA endorsement with this statement:
"Partisans usually endorse partisans but rank and file miners and workers throughout Kentucky who depend on the coal industry know that a vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes is a vote to continue the war on coal. Grimes not only cast two ballots for Obama after he declared he would bankrupt the industry, her election itself would ensure that Harry 'coal makes us sick' Reid would continue to set the Senate's sights on eliminating Kentucky coal."