All the Latest on Grimes vs. McConnell from The RP’s KY Political Brief


If you haven’t yet subscribed to The RP’s KY Political Brief — prepared every weekday morning by wunderkind Bradford Queen with links to all of the day’s Kentucky political news — now is the time.  Click here to subscribe FOR FREE!

Here’s what you may have missed  today– all the latest on the upcoming epic battle between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes:

IN WALKS GRIMES – “Ky. Secretary of State to challenge Mitch McConnell” by AP’s Roger Alford: “Declaring that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has “lost touch” with Kentucky voters, the state’s 34-year-old secretary of state announced Monday that she would seek to unseat him in 2014, ending a long search by Democrats for a competitive challenger to the deep-pocketed, five-term Republican. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who had been touted as the Democrats’ best hope of defeating McConnell, began seriously considering the race after actress Ashley Judd opted out in March. Grimes, a lawyer from a well-connected Kentucky family who was first elected in 2011, launched her bid with tough words for the 71-year-old McConnell, the longest-serving U.S. senator in state history. … “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,” Grimes told reporters. “Kentucky is tired of a senior senator that has lost touch with Kentucky issues, voters and their values.”” [AP]

The SCENE – Kevin Wheatley: “Besides [State Sen. and former Gov. Julian] Carroll, others in attendance Monday include former Gov. Martha Layne Collins, House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly of Paris, Sen. Kathy Stein of Lexington, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian of Louisville and Rep. Darryl Owens of Louisville. House Speaker Greg Stumbo also sent text messages from a vacation in Morocco Monday to House members in the meeting with Grimes.” [The State Journal]

The TIMING – Ronnie Ellis: “… The timing of Grimes’ announcement may have been tied to Federal Election Commission campaign reporting dates. By waiting until Monday, Grimes didn’t have to see an empty campaign fund contrasted with McConnell’s well-stuffed coffers. McConnell has raised nearly $13 million but that doesn’t include how much he raised during the quarter which just ended, so his significant edge will only grow.” [CNHI]

The WEEKS AHEAD – Ryan Alessi: “Jonathan Hurst who has been acting as an adviser to Grimes told reporters after the press conference that the next step is to begin the campaign process which will likely include announcements in several parts over the state in the next month. Hurst said decisions as to who will manage the campaign will also be made in the coming weeks.” [CN|2 Politics]

C-J’s Joe Gerth, “Alison Lundergan Grimes to run against Sen. Mitch McConnell” [C-J]

H-L’s Jack Brammer, “Grimes will challenge McConnell for U.S. Senate seat in 2014” [H-L]

NYTimes, “Kentucky Secretary of State Will Challenge McConnell in Senate Race” [NYTimes]

The Hill, “Democrats land top recruit to challenge McConnell in Kentucky” [The Hill]

ABC News, “Alison Lundergan Grimes To Challenge Mitch McConnell For U.S. Senate In Kentucky” [ABC News]

GOP RESPONSE – McConnell statement, in an e-mail with subject line: “President Obama’s Kentucky Candidate”: “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. 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. Together we’ve invested a lot to ensure that Kentucky’s voice in the U.S. Senate is heard from the front of the line rather than the back-bench and I intend to earn the support to keep it there.”

Sen. Damon Thayer criticized Grimes’ use of her old ‘Grimes for Secretary of State’ signage for the U.S. Senate announcement. In a series of tweets yesterday afternoon, Thayer, the Ky. Senate majority floor leader, raised questions about whether using the old backdrop was a potential violation of campaign finance laws. “@AlisonForKY banner at presser was for a state race.  She used it to announce for federal race. Don’t think it’s legal. ‪#KREF ruling needed … As Chief Elections Officer, ‪@AlisonForKY should know the law.” Thayer tweeted. Some national Republican strategists joined in the discussion while Democrats defended her.

MORE statements [CN|2 Politics]

DAYS UNTIL : Fancy Farm 2013: 32 … Next fundraising deadline: 90 … Primary Election filing deadline: 210 …  Fancy Farm 2014: 396 … Ky. 2014 Primary Election day: 322 … 2014 General Election day: 490

THE ANALYSIS – “Re-Election Is Likely for McConnell, but Not Guaranteed,” NYTimes’ FiveThirtyEight blog: “Mr. McConnell, the Senate minority leader, is likely to win re-election. … However, he is unlikely to sail to victory. Ms. Grimes was elected to statewide office in 2011 with 60 percent of the vote. She has deep ties to Democratic politics, both in Kentucky and nationwide, as the daughter of the state’s former Democratic Party chairman, Jerry Lundergan. Those connections and the high-profile nature of the race should make it relatively easy for her to raise money. … While there have not yet been any nonpartisan surveys testing a potential contest between Mr. McConnell and Ms. Grimes, the four partisan polls that have been conducted so far (three by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling and one by the Republican-leaning Wenzel Strategies) have shown a relatively tight race, with Mr. McConnell leading by an average of 4.5 percentage points. … “In many ways, Ms. Grimes faces a challenge similar to that faced earlier this year by Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democrat who challenged Representative Mark Sanford in a special election in South Carolina’s First Congressional District: to defeat a vulnerable Republican opponent — Mr. Sanford because of his past scandals and Mr. McConnell because of his mediocre popularity — on solidly Republican terrain. Ms. Colbert Busch lost that race, and Ms. Grimes, too, will have a hard time overcoming Kentucky’s Republican gravity. The McConnell campaign will probably attempt to tie her to Mr. Obama, who remains highly unpopular in the state.” [NYTimes]

“Crystal Ball holds firm on Likely R rating,” Larry Sabato tweets (@LarrySabato). “McConnell has enormous advantages in strongly anti-Obama KY. Low turnout midterm, too. … I’ve followed McConnell’s races since ’84. I’ll bet polls get close at some point in fall ’14. … KY doesn’t ‘love’ McConnell. It’s more of a business/ideological pact. McC won’t be caught napping, will pull away by end.”

WaPo’s The Fix blog, “The nastiest Senate race in the country just started”: “Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ decision to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014 ensures the political world one thing: This will be the nastiest race in the country. Here’s why. … 1. National Democrats hate McConnell. Hate is a strong word. But it is not too strong a word for how Democrats feel about McConnell. … 2. McConnell is famous/infamous for the campaigns he runs. McConnell is legendary in political circles for his willingness to unapologetically savage the person he is running against. … 3. No one (really) knows who Lundergan Grimes is. Yes, she has been elected to statewide office. And, yes, her father is the former (and longtime) chairman of the state party — who also happens to be a friend of Bill Clinton.  But, no, no one in the state really knows who Alison Lundergan Grimes is.” [WaPo]

Kentucky Enquirer, “Grimes confronts tough, uphill task” [Enquirer]

National Journal, “Grimes Offers a Preview for Red-State Democrats”: “Grimes will start out the race as an underdog, but has an inviting target in McConnell. Her biggest challenge will be distancing herself from the Obama administration’s unpopular policies on energy (read: coal) and gun rights. Democrats are capable of winning statewide races in Kentucky, but it’s tougher in a federal contest where control of the Senate is at stake. Her announcement was highly unconventional: on the week of July 4, without throngs of cheering supporters in attendance, having briefed only a small group of friends and allies right before the speech. She’ll need a similar outside-the-box campaign to pull off the upset. Other red-state Democrats, from Mark Pryor to Mary Landrieu, will be watching closely.” [National Journal]

POLITICO, “Alison Lundergan Grimes challenges Mitch McConnell in Kentucky”: “… Grimes had long been seen by Kentucky insiders as unlikely to run, given her cautious nature and the fact she appeared to be angling for a statewide bid, whether it was attorney general or the governor’s mansion in 2015. If she runs and loses against McConnell, it could hurt a future bid for higher office — even one against Sen. Rand Paul in 2016, when the Kentucky Republican may opt for a White House bid.” [POLITICO]

AL MAYO: “Can Grimes Win? Yes – BUT!” – KPB column: “… She’s by far the strongest candidate they have available, so it’s the best possible news for Democrats, but Grimes has her work cut out for her. She was flanked by family, friends and a few high-powered Kentucky Democrats. … Grimes needs to be mega-prepared for MAJOR adversity in this campaign. … What to expect from this race? Look for nastiness. Pure and simple. … What I cannot stress enough is that Grimes can’t sit back, and wait for McConnell to make a mistake. It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.” [KPB column]

“Yarmuth: Grimes can raise the money and provide the contrast to defeat McConnell” [CN|2]

The Guardian, “Mitch McConnell’s challenger Grimes has her work cut out in Kentucky” [Guardian]

John Y. Brown, III: “Courage in the Arena” [The RP]

Click here to get all of the latest on McConnell/Grimes delivered free to your email box every weekday morning.


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show