The unpopular Senate minority leader, who has accomplished nothing during his term of office, will now be seriously challenged in 2014. Republican from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell faces strong opposition for his reelection bid.
A few months ago, McConnell was so fearful of a possible announcement from actress Ashley Judd, that he began a smear campaign against her. She decided not to become a candidate.
Monday, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, declared her candidacy for McConnell’s seat. “Kentucky deserves a change,” she told supporters gathered in Frankfort, Kentucky, who whooped as she revealed a decision that was closely held until the moment she bounded onstage.
She will be battling a ruthless and savvy opponent, who has served five terms as the senior senator from Kentucky. McConnell’s grip on the red state may be loosening. His popularity rating has plummeted, and the time for a Democrat to win one of Kentucky’s senate seats may be as close as 2014.
Democrats will pour vast amounts of money into Grimes’ campaign. They have been actively seeking a formidable opponent who could unseat McConnell. He is considered an obstructionist and a central figure in the obstacle course that has become Washington.
Just days before her announcement, a Republican super PAC started to air advertisements attacking Grimes. The spots linked Grimes to President Barack Obama, who remains deeply unpopular in the Bluegrass State.
But Grimes said she is unconcerned about entering the race as an underdog.
“I agree with thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction; that 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 of a senior senator that has lost touch with Kentucky issues, voters and their values,” Grimes said at the announcement.
McConnell has a reported 8.6 million dollars in campaign funds, and has not begun his fund raising tour in 2013.
Grimes won election in November 2011, coasting to victory in the conservative commonwealth after tapping into a deep fundraising network. She ran in that race as a plainspoken, pro-business moderate, who even put her grandmothers in a campaign spot.
McConnell showed extremely poorly in recent polls. His favorability rating in Kentucky was a lowly 36 percent. He was voted the worst Senator in the United States. In early polling, McConnell and Grimes are deadlocked at 45 percent each.
Democrats see McConnell as a vulnerable target. McConnell’s sole agenda between 2009 and 2013 was to “make Obama a one-term president.” He failed miserably. After the President’s reelection, his duty has been to thwart any and all important legislation affecting not just Kentucky, but the entire nation. He’s been fairly successful in that venture.
Mid-term elections lack the glamour of those when there is a presidential race. Grimes’ announcement makes it more interesting for those of us who follow politics. Mitch McConnell will indeed face strong opposition in his bid for reelection.
Alfred James reporting