Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes vowed to press President Barack Obama to "do the right thing" and give coal its rightful place in a national energy policy, as the U.S. Senate candidate took her campaign to the eastern Kentucky coalfields Thursday night.
Grimes said she would work to "rein in" federal regulations aimed at mines and coal-fired power plants, and would strive to secure a "meaningful, long-term place for coal" in the nation's energy mix.
"As your next United States senator, I will work with anyone who sides with Kentucky, and I will oppose anyone who tries to undercut our needs, our resources and our very values," she said.
Republicans have repeatedly tried to tie Grimes to Obama, a fellow Democrat who has never been popular in Kentucky. Grimes said Thursday night she would press the case for coal to the White House.
"I will call on the president to do the right thing and to develop an energy plan that does not threaten the livelihood of Kentuckians and that gives America the benefit of our coal," she said.
Grimes was joined by a number of prominent Kentucky Democrats, including state lawmakers and former governors, as she delivered her speech in Prestonsburg.
The Democratic front-runner also rolled out a detailed jobs plan for Kentucky in her bid to claim the seat held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is seeking his sixth term this year.
McConnell is being challenged in the GOP primary by Louisville businessman Matt Bevin.
Republicans linked Grimes to national Democrats whom they portray as anti-coal, and touted McConnell's role in fighting regulations that they say have sent the state's coal sector into a tailspin, costing thousands of jobs.
"Mitch McConnell is a tireless advocate for the region who fights every day to ensure that the same Washington liberals who are supporting Alison's candidacy aren't able to continue to prosecute their war on coal and the entire region," McConnell's campaign said in a statement.