Alison Lundergan Grimes

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is distancing herself from President Barack Obama on the issues of coal and health care.

Grimes, who is seeking her party's nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's election, told reporters Thursday that she disagrees with Obama's philosophy on coal. Griimes said she would work to protect coal jobs if elected.

Grimes also said there were many problems with the federal health care overhaul championed by the president. But she called efforts to repeal the health care law a waste of taxpayer money.

Grimes spoke to reporters in Louisville after giving a speech to a large gathering of county leaders from across Kentucky. She announced her candidacy earlier this month.

A Super PAC supporting Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is about to go on the air with TV ads targeting Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The group Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has purchased $270,000 in ads that are set to debut Friday in several markets, including Bowling Green, Louisville, and Evansville.

Politico reports that a source says the ads will be aimed at defining Grimes in negative terms, as the Secretary of State tries to get her Senate campaign up and running. McConnell is considered one of the top targets for Democrats during next year’s election cycle.

Grimes is the highest-profile Democrat to announce a challenge to McConnell next year, but her campaign has gotten off to a rocky start. Her July 1 announcement declaring her Senate candidacy was largely panned by analysts as disorganized and underwhelming, and since joining the race Grimes has been largely unseen in public.

She announced Wednesday that her Senate campaign would have an official launch July 30.

McConnell and Grimes to Both Speak at Fancy Farm Picnic

Jul 16, 2013

The Fancy Farm picnic will be the backdrop for an early face-off between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Both campaigns said Tuesday their candidates will attend the Aug. 3 event in western Kentucky.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said the Republican senator wants to hear Grimes' views on health care, coal and gun rights.

Grimes political adviser Jonathan Hurst referred to McConnell as "Sen. Gridlock" and said the campaign looks forward to hearing the senator defend to his long record in Washington.

McConnell is seeking election to a sixth Senate term next year. Grimes is in her first term as Kentucky's secretary of state.

Kentucky's only Democratic congressman is predicting Alison Lundergan Grimes will run the most aggressive campaign that Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has seen from a challenger.

Grimes, the state's secretary of state, has kept a low profile since announcing her bid to unseat McConnell next year.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said Monday that Grimes will soon take the fight to McConnell in what's shaping up as the most costly race ever in Kentucky.

McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, got in a recent dig at Grimes, saying she announced her candidacy and went into hiding.

Yarmuth says Grimes is putting together a campaign team but will come out with a hard-hitting campaign.

Yarmuth says McConnell has been "a master at controlling the narrative" of campaigns but won't be able to do so next year.

McConnell Adds More than $2 Million to Campaign

Jul 11, 2013

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has banked another $2.26 million since April, pushing his overall fundraising total to more than $15 million for the election cycle.

Campaign manager Jesse Benton said those totals, which will be reported to the Federal Election Commission on Friday, put McConnell "well ahead" of the fundraising pace of his 2008 re-election bid when he spent some $20 million.

Benton said the FEC report will show McConnell still has $9.6 million on hand.

McConnell is expected to face a strong challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old secretary of state who announced her candidacy last week.

Grimes, a lawyer from a well-connected Kentucky family, launched her bid with tough words for the 71-year-old McConnell, declaring he has lost touch with Kentucky voters.

Beshear Didn't Know in Advance of Grimes' Campaign

Jul 9, 2013

Kentucky Governor Steve says he wasn't given a heads up before fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes announced her U.S. Senate bid last week. But he says he doesn't see it as a slight.

The governor said Tuesday he's eager to help Grimes in her effort to unseat five-term Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Beshear himself lost a Senate race to McConnell in the 1990s.

Beshear and Grimes' father are former political rivals. And Grimes defeated the governor's appointee in winning election as Kentucky's secretary of state two years ago.

Beshear said he didn't get the customary notification of Grimes' intention to run before she called a news conference to announce it.

But the governor says he had already pledged his support in any way possible.

Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is losing the online war in the effort to unseat Republican Mitch McConnell.

The first two websites that display following a Google search for the term “Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate” Tuesday were websites set up by groups aiming to defeat her next year.

The groups behind the two sites paid Google advertising revenue in order to have those websites appear at the top of page, something that is a common practice.

The first return is a website that looks like an official site for Grimes, but is operated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Featuring a picture of Grimes next to a picture of President Obama, the site declares the 34-year-old Secretary of State is “not ready” for the U.S. Senate, and contains links to media reports critical of last week’s event in Frankfort where Grimes announced she was entering the Senate race.

A “donate” button at the site links to a page where contributions can be made to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The second website displayed following a Google search for the Grimes Senate campaign is a site run by the McConnell re-election campaign that urges viewers to sign an online petition opposing what it calls President Obama’s “war on coal.”  

Grimes has an official Senate campaign website, but it does not appear until the third page of a Google search.

Ashley Judd Ready to Help Grimes Win U.S. Senate Seat

Jul 3, 2013

Actress Ashley Judd says she's "ready to fight" beside Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state who announced Monday that she would challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

Monday's announcement by the 34-year-old Grimes came under criticism by several observers who described the event as disorganized and uninspiring.

Judd, who had considered the race herself, showed her support for Grimes in a tweet Tuesday.

Judd wrote, "Even in thick woods outstanding news filters through. Thrilled for the people of KY & ready to fight beside"

Judd, a former Kentucky resident now living in Tennessee, announced in March that she wouldn't run against the five-term Kentucky Republican. When Judd decided against a bid, Democratic leaders turned to Grimes as their candidate of choice.

It's safe to say this isn't the start Alison Lundergan Grimes--or her supporters--had in mind when they envisioned their effort to take out Kentucky's powerful senior U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell.

Grimes ended months of speculation Monday afternoon when she announced she will seek the Democratic party's nomination for the 2014 Senate race. But in doing so, she raised as many questions as she answered.

One of Kentucky's best political reporters, Ryan Alessi of cn/2's "Pure Politics", says supporters who met with Grimes in Frankfort Monday before she announced her decision described the meeting as "unorthodox,” “unprecedented,” “fascinating” and, at times, “surreal.”

According to Alessi, Grimes seemed to be undecided on whether or not to run during the pre-announcement meeting, and asked those in attendance what they thought she should do. After meeting for nearly an hour, the consensus formed that Grimes should run for Senate.

Kentucky Democrats have lined up what they hope will be a formidable candidate to take on powerful Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in next year's campaign.

Ending months of speculation, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday afternoon that she will enter the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

“I’m here today to tell you that I have met with my supporters, we have had a great conversation and determined and decided that we can next make the best move, the best difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by running for the U.S. Senate,” she said.

Speaking in Frankfort to a room of supporters and reporters, Grimes said Kentuckians are tired of McConnell and what she described as his "28 years of obstructionism." She also chided McConnell for voting against increases in the minimum wage and for "losing touch with Kentucky issues, voters, and values."

Referencing the length of time it took for her to formally declare her entrance into the Senate contest, the 34-year-old Maysville native said she wasn't willing to join the race until she had done all of her homework.

“Make no mistake, members of the media, this due diligence was not reluctance, it was not hesitancy,” she said, “but rather a deliberate gathering of all the necessary facts to make a decision that’s not to be taken lightly.”

The announcement started more than 30 minutes later than it was scheduled, and lasted less than five minutes. Grimes answered only a few questions from reporters before leaving the stage.

Grimes has been Secretary of State since 2012. Before that, she was an attorney in Lexington. Grimes comes from a well-connected political family. Her father, Jerry Lundergan, served as chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and potential Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes are tied in a new poll of Kentucky voters, though state Republicans are calling the results a "sham."

The poll, by Public Policy Polling, stated that McConnell and Grimes were each supported by 45 percent of Kentucky voters. In April, a PPP poll showed Grimes trailing by 4 points. In December, she trailed by 7 points.

The PPP poll was paid for by the Senate Majority PAC, an organization founded with the help of Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid, the current majority leader.

Republicans are characterizing the results as "push polling"—a poll that tries to influence answers through the questions asked.

The PPP poll's critics say the questions directly comment about McConnell, his tenure in the Senate or some of his votes, rather than asking more simple questions as scientific polls often do.

A new poll shows Sen. Mitch McConnell with a precarious lead over potential Democratic challengers.

The survey from Public Policy Polling shows McConnell with a four point lead over Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—45 to 41—and a five point lead over former Congressman Ben Chandler.

Despite the leads, McConnell polls below the 50 percent mark in both races. And it shows he only has an 11 point lead over Owensboro contractor Ed Marksberry, 46 to 35.

And the poll results show only 34 percent of voters approve of McConnell, while 54 percent disapprove. Those are similar to previous number PPP had on McConnell's approval ratings.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is trying to use Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election bid as a catalyst to raise money even before a serious challenger gets into the race.

In a series of emails bashing McConnell, Gov. Steve Beshear and other party leaders have been calling for financial donations to end the Republican floor leader's three-decade Senate career.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said the results of the effort have been "awesome," though he declined to say how much has been raised.

A Politico profile of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign describes the effort as using a "scorched earth" policy against any potential challengers.

McConnell has already aired $200,000 in TV and radio ads and has approached state Republican lawmakers in the state in an effort to "lock down" support in his party. The U.S. Senate Minority Leader could potentially face a primary challenge from the right, in addition to a potentially well-funded Democratic opponent in the general election.

With actress Ashley Judd announcing this week that she will not challenge McConnell, many political observers will now renew their focus on the possible Senate candidacy of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Actress Ashley Judd announced on Twitter Wednesday that she will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014. She had been rumored to be considering a run against Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

In a series of posts, the Kentucky native and current Tennessee resident said "After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family. Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate."

"I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people & new leader. While that won't be me at this time, I will continue to work... as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: the people & their needs, dreams, and great potential. Thanks for even considering me as that person & know how much I love our Commonwealth."

It's likely that with Judd's announcement there will be increased attention on Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a potential Senate challenger many establishment Democrats favored over Judd in the first place.

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