After Much Derision, Democrats Get Candidate Against Mitch McConnell

Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes signs the Moet & Chandon 6L for the Churchill Downs Foundation during the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon

My inbox is dark and full of terrors, and even more full of snark-tastic emails from party committees. No fewer than 37 times, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent out updates on the 2014 campaign scene that included some mockery of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Ever since Mitch McConnell had effectively spooked Ashley Judd out of a possible challenge, Republicans were in gloat mode. Democrats had polls that showed Grimes tied with McConnell—but where was she?


From May 7: “Kentucky Republicans Beef Up Campaign Army for U.S. Senate Race; Democrats Struggle to Find a Candidate.” From May 10: “Alison Lundergan Grimes - the Reluctant Candidate - Could Break Her Pledge to Voters.” From May 29: “Kentucky Dem Rep. Yarmuth to Lundergan Grimes: Decide, already.”

And so on, until … today, when Grimes actually got into the race. The new Republican line is that Grimes botched her entry (she doesn’t have a website splash for donations!), but come on, they’d been counting on her not to run! I see no reason why Kentucky voters would unseat McConnell in the second midterm election of a president they’ve voted against, twice.* They haven’t voted in any Democrat to the Senate since 1992. But a Grimes-less race probably meant that McConnell could run without serious opposition and hand his campaign money to other Republicans. Unless/until Grimes falters, Democrats have a “tip of the spear” situation—they’ve pinned down the GOP minority leader in a real race, as Republicans did with Tom Daschle in 2004. (That ended well for Republicans.)

*McConnell’s only had one truly easy election, his 2002 re-election against … why, against a female holder of a statewide office, just like Grimes!