The new challenger is 34-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State, scion of a politically powerful family with strong ties to Hillary and Bill Clinton, who won’t be as easily deterred as Judd was by a preemptive campaign to smear her for nude scenes as an actress and openness about her personal history.
Grimes’ announcement follows weeks of deliberation in the face of $300,000 in SuperPAC ads attacking her, but McConnell’s warn-off strike has not worked this time. “I’m no stranger to being an underdog,” she says. “His ads are based out of fear of losing his 30-year grip on power.”
Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr., on government payrolls all his life, is now the tenth richest Senate member, with a reported fortune somewhere between $9,839,049 and $44,587,000 in 2010, much of it apparently from his second wife, Elaine Chao, who comes from a wealthy Taiwanese shipping family and served as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor.
McConnell failed in his promise to make Barack Obama a one-term president but hopes to keep leading Senate naysaying past the end of the President’s second, but Democrats seem intent on showing their anti-Tea Party muscle by thwarting his bid for another term.
It will be a nationally watched contest to see which group has the will and muscle to prevail and set the tone for Obama’s lame duck years.
McConnell’s defeat would be good news, but in their hearts, political connoisseurs will miss his startled owl face on the Sunday morning talk shows.