Democrats launching anti-McConnell ads; looking for challenger - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Democrats launching anti-McConnell ads; looking for challenger

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With this week's announcement from Ashley Judd, Democrats now have no one to go up against Kentucky's senior U.S. senator. But now, national Democrats have gotten involved in the effort to replace Mitch McConnell.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has produced its first attack ad of the 2014 election cycle. And it's aimed at McConnell.

With actress Ashley Judd's decision not to run, Democrats are scrambling to find someone to challenge Mitch McConnell.

The anti-McConnell group Progress Kentucky has even launched an online campaign to draft someone, anyone, left or right, to run.

"One of the things that all of the discussion of Ashley Judd's candidacy has shown is that everybody knows that Mitch McConnell is very vulnerable, and so I suspect we'll see a very strong candidate," said Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth.

Most of the attention has focused on Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is said to be considering the race but has not announced her intentions.

"She would bring youth and, as a woman, I think that it would become more challenging for the senator to attack her personally, because Republicans as a party are trying to get more women's votes," said Jasmine Farrier, associate professor of political science at U of L.

But national Democrats are not waiting on a candidate, launching a basketball-themed radio ad. The ad tries to portray McConnell as looking out for special interests and not the people of Kentucky.

"The Democratic message is that the senator has put party above country, put party above Commonwealth. However, Sen. McConnell is much more in the mainstream of the Republican party, and that main stream is against the President. So, it's not clear that that's a winning strategy," said Farrier.

McConnell himself knows, regardless of who runs, as Republican Minority Leader, the Democrats have placed a huge target on his back.

"I'm going to get a lot of attention, and I'll have, in the end, a real opponent. In the meantime, I'm going to let the Democrats sort out who that might be," said McConnell.

U of L's Jasmine Farrier says a non-celebrity such as Grimes might have a tougher time raising the millions of dollars needed for the campaign.

But, she adds, Grimes could tap into her relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are still fairly popular in Kentucky.

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