First on CNN: McConnell challenger rolls out attack
July 30th, 2013
03:26 PM ET
10 years ago

First on CNN: McConnell challenger rolls out attack

(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.

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"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.

Filed under: Kentucky • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. CB FL

    He has a problem now. Which one does he tell lies on first.

    July 30, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. anotherGDlefty

    6 term guardian of gridlock.
    That about says it all.

    July 30, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Oh, indeed he is at the center of it. Some might even say he is a bona fide carrier (and enabler) of GOPerville Dysfunction Disease. Apparently there is no other cure than to get rid of the carrier. As in vote him out of office ... once and for all.

    July 30, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    The "guardian of gridlock" has a nice ring to it. Man, those Republicans are good at coming up with names.

    July 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Bill

    The endgame is at hand for the leader of the Obstructionist Party. I do not care how large his war chest is, this addled buffoon will be beaten in 2014.

    July 30, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Q

    McConnell is the perfect inspiration for a term limitation movement across America.

    July 30, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Data Driven

    Lundergan Grimes looks a scrapper. And after Bevin softens up McConnell, she may actually stand a chance. I think that "Guardian of Gridlock" thing resonates quite a bit more than the "Obama is her BFF" thing.

    My money's still on McConnell, but it will be close either way.

    July 30, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Grimes all the way!

    July 30, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Delos

    Toshay turtle will win hands down, we're talking about kentucky here, no exacty the bastion of collective reasoning.
    These Southern states make stupid and art form.

    July 30, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Haha... Bevin is doing Grimes' job for her. Primary the heck out of him while painting yourself as a radicalized Teatroll extremist, Bevin, and then hopefully you win haha. I wholeheartedly support that strategy LOL.

    Hmmm...should we compare him to Angle or O'Donnell first?

    July 30, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Mike Texoma

    McConnell has a tea party opponnent? Maybe the two scorpions will sting each other to defeat. Tying Grimes to Obama is a risky strategy. What happens when the American economy quits generating 200,000 new jobs each month and drops back into the tank this fall because Republicans absolutely must "starve the beast". What happens when America defaults on its debt this fall because Republicans are determined to "starve the beast". What happens when other states see the cost of health insurance reduced by 20%-50% next year, and Kentucians are left paying those outrageous premiums, becuase Republicans are compelled "starve the beast". What happens when less fortunate Kentucky women cannot get reproductive medical because there is none? I think Senator Grimes will be having her picture taken with President Obama.

    July 30, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Phoney President Obama

    Gridlock is FAR more preferable than Obama and the Democrats far left agenda. We don't need to turn America into a failed European style socialist state. Mitch has my vote!

    July 30, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Obama is her BFF"

    Don't count that out. Parts of KY are still very VERY racist.

    July 30, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. just askin

    Don't count that out. Parts of KY are still very VERY racist.

    why? do 95% of the white people vote for the white candidate?

    July 30, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Mike Smith

    These old Republicans are obsolete and need to go. They are old Yahoos that can't hear, someone says there's a new Presidential Bill, instead they hear a new pill and like their hero Reagan, they just say NO! Obama beat these old farts twice because they're still trying to take back America, way back, when there was no internet, no microwave, no progress is where they are at and plan to stay. The Republican party is made up of old useless white guys who refuse to eat their pudding.

    July 30, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |