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Any Political Campaign Experts Want To Comment On Amy McGrath's Coal Mine Ad “Controversy?”

If anyone on Daily Kos who has worked on a politcal campaign before reads this diary, I would really like your input on this latest news twist on Amy McGrath’s advertisement against Moscow Mitch:

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Kentucky miners issue a cease and desist letter to Amy McGrath for using them in a TV ad

After Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Amy McGrath published a campaign ad in August calling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not doing enough for coal miners, several Kentucky miners have now complained that they were wrongfully included in her video.

Two of the black lung suffering coal miners in the ad — Randy Robbins and Albrow Hall — thought they were part of a documentary on black lung disease, so they now say.  The two got a lawyer — Christopher L. Thacker —  who just happens to be an appointee of Republican Governor Matt Bevin to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.  Thacker is a member of one of the state’s Federalist Society chapters, and he has sent a cease and desist letter to the McGrath campaign.

The two felt the trip to see McConnell was a success, the letter said, and “deeply appreciated the warm receptions they received” from officials.

“Randy and Albrow are not partisan political activists for either party,” the letter states. “However, they are personally offended at seeing their images being used in a political attack ad that does not reflect their personal feelings or beliefs. It is simply wrong for the McGrath Campaign to use individual miners suffering from black lung disease as political pawns without their permission or consent.”

McGrath’s campaign manager, Mark Nickolas, says that the miners signed a release form and signed up to get a McGrath campaign T-shirt.  Additionally, Nickolas calls Thacker a “partisan lawyer” who works for the incompetent Matt Bevin.

My question for anyone who has worked on a political campaign:  is this a nothingburger or something more serious?

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If I recall, there have been political campaigns in the past who have used video footage that they did not get a signed release for.  But if you have those signed releases, a political campaign should be covered.  Correct?

McGrath is not getting any political cover from one of the other declared Democratic primary opponent — Mike Broihier.  He thinks that McGrath used the miners for political gain.  And McGrath is getting no love from another possible contender — Matt Jones.  He basically accused McGrath of screwing up because she is the national party’s choice and not the citizens of Kentucky.

But this is Kentucky where McGrath is running against Moscow Mitch.  And I put nothing past Moscow Mitch, including telling a couple of sick miners that he could help them out if they did him a little favor with regards to McGrath.

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McGrath ad:

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