After months of consideration, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Monday that she will mount a campaign against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, giving national Democrats a recruitment win following a series of failures to attract major candidates into Southern Senate races this cycle.
Grimes won her first term as secretary of state in 2011 with a resounding 60 percent of the vote, outpacing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear by 5 points. She proved a strong fundraiser in her first statewide race, and she's got political connections through her father, former Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan. She'll need to use those connections if she has any hope of competing with McConnell's $8.3 million warchest. Her ties to the Clintons, who had reportedly urged her to get into the race, could be a big help in that regard.
Grimes has long been at the top of Democrats' list to take on McConnell, one of their top targets for 2014. But she has been tight-lipped over the last few months, and Rep. John Yarmuth, who has long pushed for her candidacy, complained to ABC News last month that she had stopped returning Democrats' phone calls altogether. Democrats nevertheless remained hopeful that she would get into the race, particularly after she repeatedly slammed McConnell at a party fundraiser earlier this month.