Kentucky third-party Senate candidate Ed Marksberry is accusing the campaign of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes of trying to buy him off to drop out of the race.
In a 15-page document published on the political blog Page One Kentucky,
Marksberry, who dropped from the Democratic primary last year to run as an independent, claims that an associate of local party leader Jerry Lundergan — Grimes' father — was the one to make the offer.
"We met and I was told that Alison's campaign would like to ask me to consider stepping out of the race," Marksberry wrote in his document, which Grimes' campaign denied Tuesday, reports The Hill
"That did not happen," a Grimes campaign official said. "We appreciate Ed's support and wish him the best. The Democratic party has very much united around our campaign. Momentum continues to build around the campaign, underscoring the fact that Kentuckians are overwhelmingly ready for a U.S. senator who will fight for them."
Marksberry, who alleges the state party "inappropriately" favored Grimes over him, leading to his decision to run as an independent, said the Grimes campaign found him to be a threat and offered him benefits to drop out of the race altogether. This came, Marksberry said, after Grimes adviser Jonathan Hurst indicated that he could be an asset to the Grimes campaign.
"They said that Jerry really liked me and that Jerry takes care of his friends," said Marksberry in his document. "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 acknowledges that he proposed the Grimes campaign hire his campaign manager and pay off a debt he owed to his website designer, and he would then stop actively fundraising and drop out of the race.
He went on to say that his campaign manager and others had worked hard on the campaign, and he "couldn't just leave them in the cold."
The deal seemed to be a go, Marksberry claims, but when he contacted Hurst, the adviser appeared to know nothing about it.
Marksberry's connection told him to "lie low," but Hurst called him later to tell him the deal was on again, the independent candidate claims.
"We had a deal, we didn't have a deal, and then we had a deal," Marksberry writes.
"I didn’t like what I just witnessed; they showed a lack of being cool under pressure and made me feel like a cheap prostitute."
But he says he told the Grimes campaign that he could not immediately drop out, because he was considering a lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party for favoring Grimes, and had to remain a candidate because of that.
After some back-and-forth over whether Marksberry's request for the Grimes campaign to hire his campaign manager would come through, he says that he met with her campaign people, who said "'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,'" Grimes wrote.
And when he told them that it was all about "the principle," the person, who he does not name, told him "you don't know how much pressure we've been getting to get you out of this race, a ton of pressure."
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