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Beating Mitch McConnell will not be easy regardless of the Senator’s unpopularity and a potentially heated primary challenge. Regardless of how great of a challenger he will have (and as you will find out later, it looks like this is true) Democrats still face an uphill battle in trying to turn this seat blue.
Kentucky isn’t as allergic to electing Democrats as some other states (Democrats occupy the Governor’s Mansion as well as the Attorney General and Secretary of State slots) so there is some type of base to work off. But Kentucky is still a red state with an entrenched incumbent (who is basically an institution) who will be able to raise millions from various special interest groups as well as from himself. To beat McConnell you are going to need to stay on the offensive, prepare for some pretty vile attacks and remain on message in a reasonably red state.
That’s why Kentucky Democrats weren’t too keen on actress Ashley Judd’s candidacy even though she would’ve been probably well-connected to raise plenty of cash. Judd however would’ve been running as an anti-coal candidate and was already at the receiving end of plenty of attacks from Team McConnell. The campaign was going to be centered on if the very progressive, non Kentucky resident of Ashley Judd was a good fit for the state. It would not have been pretty.
Enter Alison Lundergan Grimes who probably has been the DSCC’s choice as the candidate since she won her election for Secretary of State in 2011. Grimes is well-connected to Kentucky and while she will be a pretty solid Democrat on most issues; she’d probably settle more to the Mary Landrieu wing which is a vastly superior upgrade to the Senate Minority Leader.
However Grimes, who didn’t have the “smoothest” of campaign rollouts (but that’s practically irrelevant this far out) has recovered and I am starting to see why exactly she is so heavily hyped. It looks real as evident because her newest ad is a very good unveiling of herself to the electorate.
Framing the minimum wage being raised as an example of economic populism while telling voters that they are voting to keep a multi-millionaire in office is truly brilliant given that Kentucky is a very blue-collar state. I don’t want to spoil the ad, but watch for the last 40 seconds which is truly probably one of the most heartfelt campaign ad moments and also delivers one of the greatest lines “What rhymes with Mitch?”.
Grimes is off to a great start and I am very encouraged by the way her campaign is looking thus far. One of the worst things for a candidate is having to start uphill due to a poor beginning. Grimes right now started out perfect and just has to hit her marks and frame McConnell as an out-of-touch elite.
She also received one of the greatest gifts now that millionaire Matt Bevin is challenging McConnell in a primary. Even if McConnell will likely cream him electorally, every dollar that he has to spend on Bevin and not Grimes is a huge problem for the McConnell camp.
Now Grimes can get comfortable in the race and by the look of things, she’s already there.