U.S. Senate race headlines 133rd Fancy Farm picnic - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U.S. Senate race headlines 133rd Fancy Farm picnic

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At its core, it's a fundraising picnic for a Catholic church in western Kentucky. But over the years, Fancy Farm has become the state's premiere political event.

Politicians and pundits from across the state will gather at Fancy Farm to see and be seen. But this year, all eyes will be on the U.S. Senate race.

This week, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes pushed the re-set button on her campaign after a rough start.  At her huge kickoff rally in Lexington, she gave a preview of what will likely be her stump speech at Fancy Farm.  "After nearly 30 years in office, I'm here to tell you Sen. McConnell. It stops now," Grimes told the crowd on Tuesday.

"She doesn't have to win Fancy Farm. She just has to do well at Fancy Farm," said Democratic consultant Bob Gunnell, who says Fancy Farm is an opportunity for Grimes to maintain her momentum.

That means -- no mistakes.  "She has to come off polished. She has to come off as a potential threat to Sen. McConnell," said Gunnell.

McConnell and his backers have been going after Grimes, primarily through TV ads, trying to tie her to Pres. Obama.  That will likely continue as McConnell and Grimes share the stage for the first time.

"That's the main challenge for Grimes. Because she can try to separate herself from Obama but the fact remains she can't separate herself from him as much as Mitch McConnell is separated from him," said WDRB conservative columnist John David Dyche.

One wild card will be Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin, who is challenging McConnell in the GOP primary.  After first saying Bevin would not be invited, Fancy Farm organizers have added him to the roster of speakers.  "Bevin is still an unknown commodity. We need to see how strong he is as a candidate and a campaigner," said Dyche.

While the Senate race is the main event, Fancy Farm will also offer a preview of the wide open 2015 governor's race.  Many of the top contenders from both parties will be on stage, though Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will not attend.

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