"Coal has assumed out-sized importance in the upcoming election as a devastating sequence of mine shut downs and job losses in eastern Kentucky have put the region up for grabs"
"If there is a war on coal, the two contenders for Kentucky’s Senate seat are, somewhat improbably for the most contentious and expensive race this fall, both solidly on the same side.
Coal mining is locked in a death spiral in eastern Kentucky, but there is still a huge emotional and cultural attachment to the industry.
Kentucky now generates far more revenue from making cars and trucks than extracting coal. The state’s governor, Steve Beshear, is actively looking for new businesses for the old coal mining towns of eastern Kentucky.
But as Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader campaigning for re-election, likes to put it: coal is a way of life. And as his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, put it last September: 'Coal miners are Kentucky’s heart and soul.'"