McConnell gets an opponent, and Dems land candidate
July 1st, 2013
04:35 PM ET
10 months ago

McConnell gets an opponent, and Dems land candidate

Updated at 6:24 p.m. ET on Monday, July 1

(CNN) - National Democrats have landed their candidate to face off against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who many in the party consider their best hope to try and unseat McConnell in next year's midterm elections, announced Monday that she will form a campaign in the next two weeks.

"Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction. Kentucky is tired of someone who has voted against raising the minimum wage while all the while quadrupling his own net worth. Kentucky is tired with the senior senator who has lost touch with Kentucky issues, voters and their values," said Grimes at a news conference in Frankfort, the state's capital.

Grimes announcement directly followed a meeting with around 50 of her strongest supporters. That gathering followed similar get-togethers Grimes has held throughout the state, according to Jonathan Hurst, a senior Grimes political adviser.

Starting in March, when actress and activist Ashley Judd announced that she would not challenge McConnell, Grimes came under pressure to announce her intentions one way or another, with national Democrats touting her as a top potential candidate.

Grimes, the daughter of a former Kentucky Democratic party chairman with close ties to former President Bill Clinton, also came under attack recently by an internet ad put out by the McConnell campaign that poked fun at the amount of time she was taking to make a decision, and by a pro-McConnell independent group that went up with an ad tying her to President Barack Obama.

Responding to the criticism that she was taking too long to decide, Grimes said, "make no mistake, members of the media, this due diligence was not reluctance, it was not hesitancy."

With Grimes launching a bid, the race in Kentucky could end up becoming one of the most expensive marquee 2014 Senate battles. While Democrats consider McConnell vulnerable, he has a large war chest, with $8.6 million cash on hand at last check.

Pro-Democratic groups have already gone up with ads earlier this spring against McConnell, who has also aired TV commercials. It's extremely rare for an incumbent to go up with spots so early in a campaign cycle.

"His ads are based out of fear of losing his 30 year grip on power," charged Grimes.

President Barack Obama lost Kentucky by 23 percentage points in last November's election, and McConnell was quick to tie Grimes to the president.

"Accepting the invitation from countless Washington liberals to become President Obama's Kentucky candidate was a courageous decision by Alison Lundergan Grimes and I look forward to a respectful exchange of ideas," said McConnell in a statement. "The next sixteen months will provide a great opportunity for Kentuckians to contrast a liberal agenda that promotes a war on coal families and government rationed health care with someone who works everyday to protect Kentuckians from those bad ideas."

There was a similar message from the National Senatorial Campaign.

"Kentuckians have absolutely no reason to send Alison Lundergan Grimes to Washington to help pass the policies of a President whom they adamantly oppose and to elect a liberal Senate Leader who declared, 'coal makes us sick, said NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee calls McConnell "the most unpopular incumbent in the entire country," and adds that Grimes entry makes the race a toss up.

"We expect to preserve our majority next year by defending strong incumbents and playing offense in Kentucky and Georgia. We have a long road to travel, but Republicans are making our job a little easier each day, failing to recruit strong candidates and expand the playing field," said DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil, in a statement.

Kentucky hasn't sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992, when Wendell Ford won re-election.


Filed under: 2014 • Kentucky • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Warren

    Let us all pray....

    July 1, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    It will be Democrats #1 priority to remove McObstruction. He must go! Just give me the address where to send my check Ms. Grimes.

    July 1, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    When a US Senator has to filibuster his own bill that he wrote because the Democrats wouldn't do it for him, then it is time for him and his political stunts to hit the road.

    July 1, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. tom l.

    The question should be "Will Democrats continue to make racist comments about McConnell's Asian wife?

    July 1, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    The Dem socialists have every intention of trying to take over every single voice in America..........every single citizen, by coercion, by violence, by threat, or any other means possible.

    They seek to silence all opposition, and take total control. That is their objective. A Totalitarian state.

    July 1, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Ja

    With all dur respect, there is a time and season for all things,, this man days have passed go home, writ a book go fishing daily, to often people portray themselves as brilliant, but are not willing to retire nd allow fresh ideas

    July 1, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mitch McConnell and that face of his that only a mother could love...

    July 1, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    I love the pro-McConnell group tying Grimes to Obama, who I'm sure has never met her in his life. I know a lot about Kentucky, and let's just say I'm not surprised. Basically, it's "She likes the black guy.". Believe me, it's just that simple. And it will work in Kentucky.

    6 more years of Yertle the Turtle, I'm sorry to say.

    July 1, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Ne

    I live in Kentucky, I like Mitch McConnell and his wife. If your not from KY , mind your own business.

    July 1, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Ne
    I live in Kentucky, I like Mitch McConnell and his wife. If your not from KY , mind your own business.
    -----------------------------------------------
    Sorry, but he's the Senate minority leader responsible for all of the gridlock in Congress. He must go!

    July 1, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Race Bannon

    No person over the age of 12 would not recognize the facial features of this man. The face in the picture above, is a face of pure hatred and spite. This man and many in his party, are responsible for the following. Homelessness, hunger, underemployment, overall degradation of personal incomes for millions of Americans. The American dream of growth, expansion, and enlightenment have suffered because of the likes of this man. I'd vote for a dog, before casting a vote for this creep.

    July 1, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. ST

    This man McConnell has eaten a lot. It will be nice to get someone else to take his seat. It will be also be the right time for this tired individual to go home and enjoy what he has made (moneywise ) to himself instead of being enjoyed by someone else.

    July 1, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Grimes, the daughter of a former Kentucky Democratic party chairman with close ties to former President Bill Clinton, has also come under attack recently by an internet ad put out by the McConnell campaign that poked fun at the amount of time she was taking to make a decision,
    -------------------------------------------------
    Really?
    The people of Kentucky keep sending THIS back to congress? A little man who is a petty obstructionist to boot.
    Who would pick on somebody for taking their time to decide whether or not to run, who but a little butt wipe like McConnell who voted against legislation that he himself had proposed just to be contrary to the President.
    Get off the merry-go-round people of Kentucky. Elect somebody who's looking out for you and your best interests.

    July 1, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Michael Benjamin

    McConnell needs to go. I have never contributed to a candidate in another state, but would willingly do so in this instance. Let us all work to see that McConnell is defeated in 2014. He was the architect and driving force to keep President Obama from achieving any of his promises in the 2008 campaign. For that reason alone McConnell needs to go! The Senate deserves better.

    July 1, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. lolo

    @Ne why don't you tell McConnell to do the same and take care of business for all people not just for a select few people. @ Warren I am praying real hard that this old man is voted out. His time is up. If he had any new ideas I could see his obstructionist, but his only reason is because the black man was elected, and like a previous blogger, so long as he throws out the racist bait his followers will join the KKK party of McConnell.

    July 1, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Italmn

    I'm from Kentucky and Mitch McConnell is an embarrassment to the entire state for his public statements about " The only thing that's important is to make President Barack Obama a 1 term President " He STOPPED all JOBs period. He acted UN-AMERICAN and didn't care about the people even in his own state. He has also been caught in a (few) out-right LIES. It's time for Kentucky to get smart and move forward. He has had his RUN, now is the time for him to just GO !!!!

    July 1, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    @Ne–he is a US Senator and what he does affects all of us.

    July 1, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm not from Kentucky but Turtle McConnell is ALL OF OUR business as he was the same turd that decided on January 20th, 2009 to make it his NUMBER ONE PRIORITY to keep our President from moving this nation forward and make him a one-termer.
    That little decision from that little turdin conjuction with the other criminals he hangs out with in congress held back the recovery of the ENTIRE country, of which we are all a part of.
    So yes we can and will opine on Turtlehead be we from Kentucky or not.

    July 1, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    "This man MCConnell has eaten a lot - ST

    Ha ha, Comment of the Week right there, and it's only Monday!

    And Ne, McConnell is Senate Minority Leader, so it's everyone's business. This ain't just a fight betwixt two billies in a holler.

    July 1, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Bessy

    tom l.
    The question should be "Will Democrats continue to make racist comments about McConnell's Asian wife?

    I never knew he had an Asian wife and I couldn't care less. I have never heard anyone talking about it either,
    because if I did, then I would have known. Stop looking for excuses for him. His wife is not the problem, he is. The people in Kentucky must not care anything about the rest of the country because they keep putting him back in office. He surely doesn't care about the country.

    July 1, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. California Gary

    Better crank up the slime machine again Mitch.......someone else is considering taking you on. And goodness knows, you can't win anything on your own merits.

    July 1, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. John, PA

    Take on McConnell and lose, that will be the result. 2014 is going to be just like 2010 for the Democrats.

    July 1, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Richard in Houston

    Mr McDaniel. Please turn off Fox and stop listening to right wing nut radio. It is warping your brain. The
    Democrats do not want to do what you suggest. When say things like that people just start laughing at you not with you.

    July 1, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Data Driven
    McConnell is Senate Minority Leader, so it's everyone's business. This ain't just a fight betwixt two billies in a holler.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Actually Data I would wager that your comment above would take the prize!!!
    "Two billies in a holler"!!
    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Turtle has a huge tea potty problem. They don't like him. Poetic justice.

    July 1, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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