LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Big names are lending their weight to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, including President Bill Clinton.
Grimes announced almost one month ago that she would challenge Mitch McConnell for his U.S. Senate seat, but it wasn't until Tuesday night that she officially kicked off her campaign.
It was a large crowd and a completely different atmosphere than her last public address when she announced she was running.
That press conference was criticized for being lackluster.
But Tuesday night at her official campaign kick-off, the crowd measured in at 1,600, a number many veteran political types call record-breaking for a kickoff event.
"I am Alison Lundergan Grimes and with your help I will be the next United States Senator of Kentucky," Grimes said to the crowd at the beginning of her speech Tuesday night.
"I call it Alison's army, and it's a pretty strong showing with that army this afternoon," Greg Stumbo, Speaker of the House, told WDRB.
It was an outdoor set-up with massive signs, lights, videos and live music.
Grimes and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear walked on stage hand-in-hand.
Messages came via video from Louisville U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and former president Bill Clinton.
"I know she'll protect seniors because her grandmothers taught her so well," said Yarmuth.
"I've known Alison a long time," said Clinton. "I've seen her develop. She sees not just the problems but also the opportunities."
Grimes' family was well represented. Two of her four sisters addressed the crowd along with her grandmother.
Gov. Beshear spoke about education and health insurance, crediting teamwork, calling Grimes a fresh face for the commonwealth and calling McConnell disinterested.
"It is time for a change," said Beshear. "If there was ever a time, it is now."
"My world has been Kentucky and it is everything for me. We now have Senator McConnell, the proud guardian of gridlock grinding our government to a halt," said Grimes to the crowd.
Both Grimes and McConnell have agreed to appear at Kentucky's premier political event, the Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday.
Louisville businessman Matt Bevin will also run for U.S. Senate as a Tea Party/GOP candidate.
In a news release, Bevin said, "I believe voters will look forward to a choice between a candidate who will fight the Obama administration's policies on issues like Obamacare and regulations attacking our coal industry, and one who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the President and his policies."
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