On paper, the race in Kentucky between Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, should be pretty clear-cut: The experienced veteran easily beats a political novice. But like most things, it’s not.
McConnell must cross the first hurdle by beating his primary challenger, Matt Bevin, before he engages in what is expected to be one of the most expensive and bitterly fought Senate campaigns this midterm season.
A lot is at stake overall in November: control of the Senate and the political fate of one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington.
Grimes, 35, was just 7 when McConnell was first elected to the Senate.
While he rose up the ranks in Washington and became Senate Republican leader, Grimes practiced law and won statewide office as secretary of state in 2011.
Despite her short political career, like McConnell, her name carries weight — for better or worse.
Grimes’ family has a long history in state Democratic politics. Her father, Jerry, was the former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party and a state legislator. But he was forced out of those roles over legal problems facing his catering company.
While the family name has been battered, its connections survive: She’ll have access to the deep pockets and support of her father’s allies, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The former President has already hit the trail for Grimes, raising more than $600,000 at one Louisville event in February.
That was a significant chunk of cash for the one-time, part-time kickboxing instructor, helping to build her war chest for a race that some experts predict could reach $100 million in spending.
Grimes has already raised $8 million and she outraised McConnell in two of the past three quarters.
Hollywood is among her biggest donors. Ousting the top Senate Republican has attracted national attention. Remember when actress Ashley Judd was rumored to be considering a run?
SOURCE: Leigh Ann Caldwell