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POLITICS: PennAve

After awkward initial rollout, Alison Lundergan Grimes repackages Senate campaign

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Susan Ferrechio,Senate,Mitch McConnell,Kentucky,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Alison Lundergan Grimes

After an awkward entry into the race to be the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes appeared to re-launch her campaign on Thursday with a poignant video that recalled her successful 2011 campaign for Secretary of State and warned that she won't "scare easily."

This video may add to the confusion, however.

Though it is entitled “The Campaign Begins” it appears this latest announcement is a kind of both a post-launch and a pre-launch. After having announced that she plans to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Grimes said she would also hold an official campaign rollout on July 30 in Lexington.

“We are kicking off the campaign next week and I want all of you to be the first to know about it,” Grimes said in the video.

Grimes faces an uphill battle in her quest to defeat McConnell, but she can make the race competitive.

Kentucky is Republican-leaning coal state, which will work against Grimes. However, polls show that McConnell has lackluster approval ratings. He leads Grimes by just 8 percentage points in the latest survey by Wenzel Strategies, which was first reported by Politico.

McConnell's campaign had no direct response. But his aides directed attention to a report that the Laurel County Clerk, a Republican, has filed an ethics complaint against Grimes for allegedly using a government email list to solicit campaign contributions.

In her nearly 4-minute online video, Grimes takes direct aim at the five-term Republican incumbent, who has shown that he intends to fight hard to retain his seat.

McConnell, who faces a primary race against a Tea Party Republican, is already running an ad questioning Grimes’ readiness for office, based on her flawed July 1 announcement.

Grimes struck back Thursday, dinging McConnell for voting against legislation that would have made it easier for women to sue for pay discrimination and his opposition to the Violence Against Women Act. She also slammed McConnell’s long-time refusal to raise the minimum wage even while he "became a multimillionaire in office.” Grimes told McConnell in the video that she won't “scare easily.”

Grimes does not mention the GOP candidate challenging McConnell, Matt Bevin, in her ad. Bevin announced his candidacy this week but his chances of defeating McConnell are considered quite remote. The same poll that showed Grimes trailing by 8 percentage points showed Bevin losing to McConnell by 40 percentage points.

The Grimes ad paid tribute to her paternal grandmother, Thelma Lundergan, who appeared alongside Grimes’ maternal grandmother in a 2011 secretary of state ad and who died shortly after the ad aired.

In the first video, the grandmothers tried to come up with a campaign slogan that rhymed with Grimes, a line McConnell used to mock her in early July. In the new Grimes spot, her grandmother pulls out her laptop and starts drumming up slogans that rhyme with Mitch.

“It’s time to switch,” she says.

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner