In a new poll, nearly twice as many Kentucky voters who have made up their minds say they will vote against U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014, as opposed to those who say they will definitely support him. The poll comes as both conservative and progressive groups are mobilizing to recruit candidates to challenge McConnell.
The Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll finds 34 percent of registered voters plan to vote against McConnell while 17 percent say they would give him another six years. Forty-four percent are undecided and say they will wait to see who is running against him.
Arguing McConnell is too moderate, more than a dozen tea party groups from across the state say they are actively recruiting someone to challenge McConnell in the GOP primary and their top priority is to ultimately retire the five-term senator.
U.S. Senate leaders are reportedly close to a deal that would avert the so-called “nuclear option” regarding the changing of filibuster rules. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have been in talks all week about how to move forward.
Under current Senate rules, it would take a two-thirds majority to change how filibusters can be used in the chamber. Some Democratic Senators want to change the rules with a simple 51-majority vote. Democrats accuse Republicans of using the threat of a filibuster to hold up legislation and judicial appointments. Republicans point out Democrats did the same thing when they briefly found themselves in the Senate minority during the George W. Bush administration.
The online political journal Politico reports Reid and McConnell could announce as early as today a compromise that would keep the filibuster as a viable option, but would pare back its use in several instances.
Nearly two years before he faces re-election in 2014, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has been under regular attack for his policy stances — from both conservative and progressive groups in Kentucky.
The most recent criticism is coming from McConnell’s right, as more than a dozen tea party groups have signed a letter protesting the Senate Republican leader's stances. On the other side, a group called Progress Kentucky has protested the senator a handful of times already in 2013.
Jasmine Farrier, a political science professor at the University of Louisville, says it’s natural for different groups to rally against an incumbent before an election — but it may not mean much in terms of McConnell's ability to win a sixth term.
“It would not be surprising for there to be protests, criticism and press releases daily between now and the election in 2014," Farrier said. "But that does not mean there is an actual contender who is threatening the senator’s seat either from the Republican side or from the Democratic side."