2:19pm

Fri July 26, 2013
It's All Politics

McConnell's Kentucky Challenger Gets Her Act Together

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 2:52 pm

Maybe the Democrat who hopes to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell is ready for prime time after all.

That's one way to view the highly polished Web video in which Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, appears, employing humor, pathos, earnestness and her grandmothers to skewer the leader of the Senate Republicans.

The ad cleverly throws down the gauntlet to McConnell's campaign, which in a somewhat unusual video of a few weeks ago had an AutoTuned singer ask and answer the question: "What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes? Not ready for prime time." (Spoiler alert: Grimes' ad asks the question: What rhymes with Mitch?" And the way it gets there is worth the journey.)

The new Grimes video, which announces that she will have a grand rollout of her campaign on Tuesday, is something of a do-over after a very rough entry into the race in early July.

When Grimes announced a few weeks ago that she would make the U.S. Senate race against McConnell, his campaign — and neutral observers — generally observed that her candidacy seemed prematurely born, to say the least.

There was a slapdash quality to her launch, whether it was the banner from her secretary of state campaign as a backdrop or a website that essentially was a watch-this-space placeholder.

For a campaign striving to be taken seriously as a threat to a canny and formidable incumbent like McConnell, it was an unorthodox approach, to put it mildly.

It seemed to give credence to the McConnell campaign's contention that she wasn't ready for the national political stage and certainly not ready to contend with the likes of a five-term senator.

But if the video is any indication of what's to come, and if McConnell can get past a primary bid from Matt Bevin, a Tea Party-oriented challenger, the general election campaign could turn out to look a lot less like a contest between the University of Louisville and, say, Transylvania University basketball teams than a race where the challenger has a real chance at an upset.

McConnell, a shrewd political veteran with great money-raising chops, still holds a substantial edge. A recent survey by Wenzel Strategies, a Republican pollster, showed the senator with substantial leads over Grimes and Bevin.

McConnell held about an 8-percentage-point lead over Grimes and a nearly 40-point lead over Bevin.

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