Can Alison Lundergan Grimes Beat Mitch McConnell In 2014?
On Monday, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes confirmed the rumors about her running for Senate. She will be running against current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. McConnell has been a Kentucky Senator for 28, years and Kentucky has been a consistently conservative state since 2000. McConnell's senate seat has been a hot topic this year since Ashley Judd considered running against him but later decided to back out.
Before her announcement, Grimes was determined to be the most likely and prominent candidate to challenge the incumbent. However, McConnell's latest stint in the Senate has been less-than-astounding, and featured one of the only, if not the only, examples of self-filibustering when he proposed raising the debt ceiling. According to the Democratic organization Public Policy Polling, Kentucky is split in a hypothetical race between McConnell and Grimes.
In the same Public Policy Polling study, McConnell showed less than 40% of Kentucky citizens approve of his performance in the Senate, and almost 55% disapproved. Kentucky is subject to a very strong Tea Party influence (their other senator is Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite). With the recent NSA surveillance controversy, Tea Party members have voiced their opposition to programs that secretly monitor U.S. citizens, their communications, and their information. McConnell has come out to defend these secret NSA programs, much to the dismay of much of his state's conservative base, who protest almost all kinds of secret government surveillance.
The election and the race leading up to it will be a very interesting show of a few factors: the split of political influence between the Republican Party and its Tea Party supporters, the emerging liberal support in the state, and the GOP base's lost faith in the incumbent senator. It will be a key race to watch how Tea Party members handle ideological differences between themselves and the available conservative candidate.