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From ABC News:
“I have met with my supporters. We have had a great conversation and determined and decided that we can next make the best move, the best difference in the commonwealth of Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate,” Grimes said at a news conference in Frankfort, Ky.
“Over the course of the past 12 weeks I have taken the time necessary to gather all the facts to make truly an informed decision and that includes listening to my supporters all across this state,” Grimes said. “Make no mistake members of the media this due diligence was not reluctance, it was not hesitancy, but rather a deliberate gathering of all the necessary facts to make a decision that should not be taken lightly. During this process the question never was: ‘Is Mitch McConnell vulnerable? Does Kentucky deserve a change?’ The answer to both of those two questions remains and is yes. The question before my supporters which we have been working diligently on is, ‘How best can we continue to make a difference and move this commonwealth forward.”.
Grimes said she is “no stranger to being an underdog” and McConnell’s ads already running “are based out of fear, of losing his 30 year grip on power and this Kentucky woman does not believe the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily.”
The announcement from Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state who is not a national figure like her opponent, was highly anticipated since the 34-year-old is thought to be the Democrats’ best chance at defeating McConnell. Local polling has shown the Kentucky Republican is vulnerable, but until Monday, no high-profile Democrat had mounted a challenge.
“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,” McConnell said in a statement shortly after the announcement.
From Time magazine:
Democrats have successfully recruited a top candidate in the fight to unseat Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell next year.
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State, announced Monday afternoon that she will challenge the Republican Senate leader, whose national clout belies his shaky standing at home. “Kentucky deserves a change,” she told supporters gathered in Frankfort, who whooped as she revealed a decision that was closely held until the moment she bounded onstage.
After a brief dalliance with actress and activist Ashley Judd, local and national Democrats zeroed in on Grimes, 34, as the best chance to topple the powerful five-term incumbent. A Lexington attorney and the daughter of a former state Democratic Party chairman, 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 plain-spoken, pro-business moderate, who put her grandmothers in a campaign spot.
From USA Today:
WASHINGTON — The game is on in Kentucky for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic Party.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat and the only woman to hold statewide office in Kentucky, announced Monday that she will run for the U.S. Senate next year and challenge McConnell. Grimes, 34, is the Democratic Party’s top candidate after actress-activist Ashley Judd decided in March she would not run.
Both sides portray the race as one of experience vs. a fresh face. McConnell, who seeks a sixth term, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) quickly cast Grimes as a tool of President Obama and as someone who is to the left of Kentucky residents. Democrats make clear that McConnell is their top GOP target.
“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,” McConnell said in a statement. “The next 16 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.”
From The Washington Post:
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) announced Monday that she will run for Senate, giving Democrats a top challenger against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014
Grimes, 34, was one of the party’s last big-name options against McConnell, who many see as Senate Democrats’ top target next year.
“I’m here today to tell you that I’ve met with my supporters, we have had a great conversation and determined and decided that we can next make the best move, the best difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate,” Grimes said.
Grimes was elected secretary of state in 2011, taking more than 60 percent of the vote. Before that, she served as a practicing attorney in Lexington. She is the daughter of former state Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan.
McConnell brings to the race lots of seniority — he is in his fifth term — and lots of power and money as GOP leader. But he is not highly regarded in his home state and continues to draw strong and well-funded challengers despite Kentucky’s conservative lean.
McConnell likely will have a huge financial advantage over whoever he faces in the general election, and his campaign team has earned a reputation for being ruthless.
Grimes is expected to tie the long-serving McConnell to Washington and argue that it’s time for a change. She also played up her gender Monday, noting she is the only woman in statewide office in Kentucky.
“This Kentucky woman does not believe that the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily” by McConnell’s campaign, she said.
From US News & World Report:
It’s not Ashley Judd, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell finally has a top tier Democratic opponent in his re-election race – Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes announced Monday she would take on McConnell, the veteran GOP leader who has already raised more than $13 million for his 2014 race.
Grimes is a 34-year-old lawyer who won her statewide office in part by widely outspending her Republican opponent in 2011, something that will likely not be the case in her Senate bid.
“She won’t be able to match McConnell’s resources, but the important thing is whether or not she attracts enough money to put up a serious campaign,” says Stephen Voss, political science professor at the University of Kentucky. “People don’t want to put good money after bad and fund a campaign that is sure to fail. But she’s already a long way toward convincing people she’s a serious candidate and can be taken seriously as a challenger.”
McConnell, who was first elected in 1984, is a top target for Democrats both for his role as a national Republican leader and because his poll numbers show vulnerability – he’s just simply not well-liked by Kentucky voters. A recent survey by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling said just 36 percent of voters approved of the job he was doing, versus 54 percent who disapprove.
“His poll numbers are a bit weak; It’s a long shot for sure, but no politician is invulnerable,” Voss says. “At the end of the day they have to convince voters to keep them and that’s never a sure thing.”
Voss says Kentucky voters are open to supporting Democrats, despite the fact the President Barack Obama only garnered 38 percent of the vote in 2012. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is a Democrat, for example.