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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Politics was a main course as Louisville's labor unions gathered for their annual Labor Day picnic.
With the unofficial end of summer now here, the campaign for U.S. Senate is heating up even more.
Labor Day is the traditional start of the political campaign season. But the race for Mitch McConnell's senate seat is already in full stride.
It was a day full of fast cars, fast food, and a fast-moving Alison Lundergan Grimes working the crowd at the annual Labor Picnic.
Big Labor is traditionally a reliable part of the Democratic base. So, Grimes spent this Labor Day crisscrossing the state to try and firm up the union vote.
"It's about thanking those that have served the Commonwealth and making sure that they know they have a voice not just in Frankfort but soon to be in Washington DC that's fighting for them," said Grimes.
With summer vacations over, Labor Day traditionally signals the start of the campaign season.
"People start really honing in on paying attention to what the candidates are saying and start lining up as to who they're going to support," said U of L political science professor Dewey Clayton.
But Clayton says there's been almost nothing traditional about the battle for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat.
The campaigns have been slugging away all summer, filling the airwaves with attack ads even though the general election is still a more than a year away.
Clayton says campaigns are getting longer. And the reason goes beyond money.
"Because of the grassroots organizing that one needs to be involved in, people have to get started much earlier now. If you're going to have a good ground game, if you're going to have people on the ground, and you're going to mount an effective campaign, you have to begin getting things done early on," said Clayton.
And with Sen. Mitch McConnell fighting not just Grimes, but a strong primary challenger in Matt Bevin, this campaign will be no picnic.
"I think that we've only just begun to see, sort of tidbits of where things are headed. I think that clearly we're going to start seeing a lot of firepower coming from all sides," said Clayton.
Bevin spent this Labor Day campaigning in Western Kentucky.
McConnell was off the campaign trail. He is back in Washington for meetings on the crisis in Syria.