Race between McConnell and Grimes could get muddy - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Race between McConnell and Grimes could get muddy

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After months of speculation, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced she will challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. After months of speculation, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced she will challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.
Sen. Mitch McConnell Sen. Mitch McConnell
John Smith John Smith
Dr. Dewey Clayton Dr. Dewey Clayton

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After months of speculation, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced she will challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.

During a press conference Monday, Lundergan Grimes addressed the attack ads that started running before she announced she was jumping in the race.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Lundergan Grimes makes 2014 Senate run official]

"His ads are based out of fear," she said of Senator Mitch McConnell.

After months of playing cat and mouse with Kentucky Democrats about whether she would take on McConnell, the Kentucky Secretary of State finally made it official.

The attack ads on both sides began running weeks ago. McConnell is attacked in television ads for being in Washington too long, Grimes for allegedly being President Obama's cheerleader in Kentucky.

Of the ads, Louisville voter Jim Smith said he was not surprised, "I don't think any of them run on anything positive anymore," he explained. "It seems like the thing is to smear the opponent worse than they smear you."

Get out your raincoats said University of Louisville Political Science Professor Dr. Dewey Clayton. Clayton contends Democrats knew whoever challenged the most powerful Republican in Washington would have to do it with a suit of armor. "She needs to be ready because clearly, there's going to be some mud slinging going on," he said.

Clayton said Lundergan Grimes has an uphill battle against the political goliath of money and strategy. "Even some people who do not like him (McConnell) necessarily, like the fact that he's from Kentucky and like the fact that we have a voice and he's in a leadership position in Washington," he said.

Lundergan Grimes does not have the name recognition of Ashley Judd, Heather French Henry or Mitch McConnell. Louisville voter Rhonda Frank said even though Lundergan Grimes is Kentucky's Secretary of State, "You never heard much about Allison Grimes until now and most people don't even know who she is."

John Smith said, "If I had to vote next week, I'd probably vote for McConnell."

But Clayton said out of the gate Lundergan Grimes is hitting the right notes. "Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction," Lundergan Grimes told reporters Monday. The professor believes the 34-year-old will appeal to voters upset about gridlock in Washington who blame the 71-year-old McConnell for much of it.

Frank said if the election was next week she would vote for Lundergan Grimes even though she doesn't know much about her. Why? She replied she was tired of McConnell.

Of a Lundergan Grimes victory Clayton thinks, "It's possible, but she's going to have to hit a home run. "

Clayton said McConnell will continue to link his opponent to President Obama - who is not very popular with Kentucky voters. The Senator did just that in his statement on Lundergan Grimes saying in part: "The next 16 months will provide a great opportunity for Kentuckians to contrast a liberal agenda that promotes a war on coal families and government rationed health care with someone who works every day to protect Kentuckians from those bad ideas."

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