McConnell gets a Democratic challenger

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell finally has a challenger for his re-election campaign in 2014.

Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday that she would challenge the Republican senator next year. Actress Ashley Judd, another high-profile Democrat, has already passed on the race. Lundergan Grimes is seen as one of the few remaining Democrats who could take on the senior Senator from Kentucky.

“Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction,” Lundergan Grimes told supporters at her announcement, attacking McConnell for having “lost touch with Kentucky issues … voters, and their values.”

By announcing on July 1, Grimes has missed the campaign finance report filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission, which means she won’t have to disclose the financial state of her campaign until October. That spares her what would likely be an unfavorable comparison with McConnell, who had $8.6 million cash on hand as of the March filing deadline.

Grimes was criticized by the media for taking her time in announcing, but she said the time she took “was not reluctance, it was not hesitancy,” but rather doing the necessary “due diligence” to figure out if a run could be successful.

“The question never was, ‘Is Mitch McConnell vulnerable?’ The question was never, ‘Does Kentucky deserve a change?'” Grimes said.

Grimes even took a dig at Democratic President Barack Obama, an unpopular figure in Kentucky.

In 2014, “we cannot change who our president is,” she said, “but we can change who we have in Washington representing Kentucky.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately attacked Grimes after the announcement, tying her to the president’s so-called “war on coal,” after he announced his climate change agenda last month.

“Mitch McConnell has always put the people of Kentucky first and will keep fighting for them no matter how hard the liberal left tries to stop him,” said NRSC executive director Rob Collins. “Senator McConnell is engaged in the most innovative, modern, and effective campaign in history and will make the case that conservative ideas will protect Kentucky from the radical assault on their livelihood being waged by President Obama, Harry Reid and Alison Lundergan Grimes.”

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