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Democratic Group Called Out for Co-Founder's Comments Targeting Ethnicity of Mitch McConnell's Wife

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The Republican Party of Kentucky is calling on all candidates involved with a Democratic-leaning group to denounce its co-founder for targeting the Asian heritage of Senator Mitch McConnell's wife.As WFPL reported Monday, Democratic strategist Kathy Groob came under fire Fancy Farm weekend after making repeated references to the ethnicity McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, in a series of Tweets."Hey Mitch, nothing against your wife and spouses should be off limits," Groob said in one Twitter message Saturday. "Since you mentioned it she isn't from (Kentucky), she is Asian." 

Groob is a political consultant who is also co-founder of Emerge Kentucky, a group dedicated to training Democratic women to run for public office. The state GOP is demanding those who have participated in or who are supported by Emerge to come out against Groob's comments. "Kathy Groob's disgusting attacks and reprehensible behavior are unacceptable and should not be tolerated," said Republican spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper. "This type of offensive, hateful language has no place in our Commonwealth, or anywhere for that matter, and should be denounced immediately by anyone associated with the Emerge Kentucky program." Founded in 2009 by Groob and former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Jennifer Moore, Emerge has had dozens of women go through its program. Its alumnae include incumbent Louisville Metro Council members Cindi Fowler and Attica Scott. Other candidates who have gone through Emerge's ranks are vying for office this year, such as Democratic congressional candidate Elisabeth Jensen of Lexington and state House candidate Ashley Miller of Louisville. State Republicans point out Emerge's advisory board consists of some of Kentucky most well-known female lawmakers and candidates, including Democratic U.S. Senate contender Alison Lundergan Grimes. The Grimes camp has called Groob's comments "uncalled for and unacceptable," and the remarks have alons been denounced by the state Democratic Party. "It's quite ironic that the co-founder of a group responsible for training women candidates for higher office is now leveling racist attacks against another woman," said Cooper. "(A)nd apparently demonstrating to Kentuckians that this type of egregious disrespect is what they can expect from Emerge Kentucky's candidates and leaders." An Emerge spokeswoman did not immediately return WFPL's request for comment. UPDATE 12:50 p.m.: Emerge spokeswoman Elizabeth Sawyer bypassed the state GOP's call and denies Groob is their co-founder. "Kathy Groob is not a co-founder of Emerge," said Sawyer. "She is a former employee who has no current affiliation with our organization." The bio on Groob's consulting website, however, states she is the group's co-founder. Other sites, namely the House Democratic Caucus, have said Groob "co-founded" Emerge without previous dispute from the women's group. In 2010, LEO Weekly reported on how Groob and Moore were the spearheads of the organization, which was the first Emerge America affiliate in the south. When the Kentucky chapter launched, Groob was cast with the responsibility of recruiting its first class. Sawyer told WFPL the state GOP attacks are also off-base because Groob is no longer affiliated the group. "Emerge is dedicated to inclusion and support for women, and we continue to oppose the language of division and intolerance in both parties, including the deplorable remarks in question," she said. "Attempts by Republican operatives to connect those comments to Emerge and our alumnae is a disingenuous distraction and a completely baseless attack."