Washington Secrets

Dems make Sen. Mitch McConnell top 2014 target

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Keeping control of the Senate in the 2014 elections looks dicey for Democrats, but that isn't stopping the party from making their top goal defeating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"He is our number one target, yes," said a key party strategist. "We definitely want him gone."

Considered a wily campaigner and Senate legislative master, McConnell has succeeded in blocking many of the Democrats' and President Obama's key agenda items and his foes are looking for payback. And there's a bit of revenge involved for McConnell's role in trying to defeat Obama last year.

They are expected to blame McConnell in the 2014 election for the gridlock that grips Washington and call him a standard-bearer for conservative policies preventing the president from winning victories on issues such as taxes and gun control.

While a foe has yet to emerge, all Democratic eyes are on actress Ashley Judd who is dropping hints that she will run against McConnell. She told the Louisville Courier-Journal last week that "The people of Kentucky need a fighter." Judd, who attended Inaugural activities, added, "And certainly going back 10 generations, I've got some fighters from those hills in my family." Judd was born in Kentucky, but her mom and country artist Naomi Judd moved and raised her children in the state.

McConnell, however, is ready for her and even produced a recent poll that he would beat her by 4 percent, and much higher once Kentucky voters were informed of her liberal positions.

But Democrats took solace from that same poll, noting that starting just four points back is a good position for a rookie candidate who will be able to tap Hollywood's top fundraisers.

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