With Judd Out, McConnell Now Faces a REAL Rival

McConnell's true worry is Alison Lundergan Grimes

Photo: Chris Maddaloni (CQ Roll Call)
David Hawkings (CQ Roll Call)


Ashley Judd’s decision to stay out of next year’s Kentucky Senate race absolutely won’t deprive Democrats of the sort of young woman who’s well-funded and telegenic enough to topple Mitch McConnell. In fact, the chances have gone up on just such a scenario.

That’s because the candidate who’s always been preferred by the Democratic establishment,both in the state and inside the Beltway, is now positioned to step in and take a clear shot at becoming only the third challenger in more than 60 years to deny re-election to an incumbent Senate party floor leader.

She is 34-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state for the past year and the scion of one of the best-connected Democratic families in the state. Because she’s already won statewide but is in a job that does not require her to stake out firm positions on any of the polarizing issues of the day, Grimes has the potential to be a difficult combination for McConnell to counter.

Grimes already is a proven vote-getter — she won by 20 points in 2011 after defeating an incumbent in the primary. But she wouldn’t have the sort of voting record or other paper trail that the minority leader could plumb for inconsistencies or positions outside the Kentucky mainstream.

(more from our friends at Roll Call)

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