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Kentucky Politics Gets A Side Order Of Barbecue

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FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — For a church picnic, the congregation at Fancy Farm is anything but reverent.

Hundreds of people flocked to this small western Kentucky town on Saturday to cheer and jeer their way through speeches from Republican Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes at a church fundraiser that doubles as the official start of Kentucky’s campaign season.

Some Republican supporters carried signs touting “Alison’s dilemma … be a devout Democrat or a real Catholic.” On the Democratic side, a supporter held a sign asking “What would Jesus do? Vote 4 Grimes.”

Competing in one of the most-watched Senate races in the country, McConnell and Grimes put some snark of their own in their usual campaign rhetoric — and sat just a few feet away from each other in a rare joint appearance. So far, their expensive campaign has been waged mostly through TV ads and news releases.

While Grimes, a Catholic, and McConnell, a Baptist, have hardly mentioned faith in their pitches for votes, religion was on display in the parish of the St. Jerome Catholic Church almost as much as the barbecue served up to picnickers and politicos.

St. Jerome church member Tony Thomas, a registered Democrat who supports McConnell, said he didn’t know Grimes was Catholic. “If I was coming to a Catholic picnic, I would sure let that be known,” Thomas said, adding: “It’s not that we like Mitch McConnell, but it’s a vote against Barack Obama.”

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