(CNN) - Mitch McConnell's Democratic challenger will call the Senate Republican leader a "guardian of gridlock" Tuesday afternoon, as she formally kicks off her campaign to try and unseat the powerful senator in next year's midterm elections.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes launches her bid with a campaign event in Lexington, Kentucky, the first stop of a multi-day tour through the Bluegrass state. Her race against McConnell, who's running for a sixth term in office next year, could end up being the most expensive and nasty 2014 Senate contest in the country.
Follow @politicalticker Follow @PsteinhauserCNN
"There is a disease of dysfunction in Washington, and after almost 30 years, Senator McConnell is at the center of it," Grimes will say as she announces her bid, according to excerpts of her speech released to CNN.
"Where Kentucky once had giants like Wendell Ford in the Senate who built our state and this country up, we have a Senator who tears down the values we believe in. And where instead of caring about each of us here at home, it's become clear Senator McConnell only cares about himself," adds Grimes.
Even though the election is still more than one year and three months away, the race is getting nasty. In advance of Tuesday's event by Grimes, the McConnell campaign emailed reporters a web video titled "Alison's top gaffes of the month of July."
The Grimes campaign and Democrats want to make this contest all about McConnell and his three decades in the nation's capital, portraying him as a major contributor to the gridlock in Washington.
The McConnell campaign and national Republican's strategy is just as simple: Tie Grimes to President Barack Obama, who lost Kentucky by 23 percentage points in last November's election.
Grimes, 34, a Lexington attorney who cruised to victory in 2011 as Kentucky secretary of state, is the daughter of a former Kentucky Democratic party chairman with close ties to former President Bill Clinton.
Even before she announced her candidacy in early July, Grimes had already come under attack, both 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 that called her "Obama's cheerleader in Kentucky."
McConnell, 71, is infamous for taking the attack to his political opponents, and he quickly welcomed Grimes to the race by linking her 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.
McConnell is not only facing a Democratic challenge, he also now has to fend off a conservative primary challenge. Last week Republican businessman Matt Bevins, who has the support of some tea party activists and other conservatives, launched a bid to try and unseat McConnell as the GOP Senate nominee next year.