FRANKFORT, Ky. — Declaring that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has “lost touch” with Kentucky voters, the state’s 34-year-old secretary of state announced Monday that she would seek to unseat him in 2014, ending a long search by Democrats for a competitive challenger to the deep-pocketed, five-term Republican.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who had been touted as the Democrats’ best hope of defeating McConnell, began seriously considering the race after actress Ashley Judd opted out in March.
Grimes, a lawyer from a well-connected Kentucky family who was first elected in 2011, launched her bid with tough words for the 71-year-old McConnell, the longest-serving U.S. senator in state history.
“I agree with thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction, that Kentucky is tired of someone who has voted against raising the minimum wage while all the while quadrupling his own net worth,” Grimes told reporters. “Kentucky is tired of a senior senator that has lost touch with Kentucky issues, voters and their values.”
McConnell, who has already raised some $13 million for his re-election bid and is known for running bare-knuckled campaigns, released a statement saying he looks forward to “a respectful exchange of ideas” with Grimes. The senator described her as President Barack Obama’s Kentucky candidate.