When Senator Mitch McConnell faces off against prospective general election opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes at this year’s Fancy Farm Picnic on Aug. 3, it will be the first time the Republican has squared off against his Democratic challenger this far in advance.
Director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Al Cross says McConnell had one such opportunity in his first bid for re-election, and didn’t take it.
“In 1989, looking ahead to 1990, Harvey Sloane, the Jefferson County Judge Executive was openly running against McConnell. And McConnell did not give him the opportunity of a face-off that far in advance," remembers Cross.
McConnell’s last opponent, Bruce Lunsford didn’t declare his candidacy until very late in the election cycle. Cross expects the showdown at Fancy Farm will be “no holds barred” with Grimes looking to energize the Democratic base, and McConnell linking Grimes with President Barack Obama.