OWENSBORO — Keep those umbrellas close. It's about to start pouring garbage in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.
With 12 weeks to go, a race already largely devoid of meaningful and substantive policy discussions is threatening to get intensely personal.
The shift is reflected in the entrance of former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell's wife and the star of his latest ad.
The ad, which features Chao appealing directly to women and calling out Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes for supporting President Barack Obama and his "anti-Kentucky" policies, came days after a Democratic operative said it was okay to criticize Chao's ethnicity and days before Chao's role on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies became a news story.
All of that happened in a week that started with Democratic strategist Kathy Groob saying in postings on Twitter that Chao's Asian heritage is "fair game" to criticize in the election. Groob launched a Super PAC in December that endorsed Grimes and is co-founder of Emerge Kentucky, a group that helps equip Democratic women to run for public office.