Alison Lundergan Grimes has been preparing for this day for a month. Ever since July 1st, when she replaced Ashley Judd as the Democratic hopeful to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, she’s been laying the foundation.
Just a week ago, she dusted off a charming ad made by her two grandmothers in 2011 for her successful run to become Kentucky’s Secretary of State. But on Wednesday, she formally kicked off her campaign by rolling out the big guns: Bill Clinton and Ashley Judd.
Lundergan Grimes won office in 2011 with over 60% of the vote. She comes from a political family and has strong state and national connections, the most prominent of which are Bill and Hillary Clinton. The candidate’s father, Jerry Lundergan, is a former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party who just happens to own the business that catered Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Her mother, Charlotte Lundergan, is the current Democratic National Committeewoman from Kentucky.
While the Clintons reportedly encouraged Lundergan Grimes to run when the possibility of a Judd campaign was faltering, there was nothing speculative about where they stand at this point. Bill Clinton, who won in Kentucky in both 1992 and 1996, recorded a 2 minute video supporting her candidacy that was played before a large crowd at the kickoff event. In it, he refers pointedly to the obstructionism of McConnell, saying:
Kentucky needs, and our whole country needs, political leaders who are willing to work across the lines of party, geography, and philosophy… Just saying no all the time for the sake of saying no, that won’t move the ball forward one inch. It won’t create jobs, it won’t increase the minimum wage or raise incomes, it won’t give our kids all the education they deserve, or insure that folks are able to retire with dignity.
Clinton further praises Lundergan Grimes as someone who is capable and will reach across the aisle to work in a bipartisan fashion. And that, he says, is “the big difference in this race.” Watch the full video here:
The candidate was accompanied onstage by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, who spoke on her behalf, saying:
It is time for a change. If there was ever a time, it is now.
The large crowd at the announcement was in agreement, as much of Kentucky seems to be. McConnell is the least popular Senator in the country and already is not polling well against Lundergan Grimes. The cherry on top of the sundae, however, came through Twitter. Singer Ashley Judd tweeted to her fans:
Thrilled for the people of Kentucky and ready to fight beside Alison.
With a lineup like that — in addition to McConnell’s falling numbers — it’s hard to imagine that Alison Lundergan Grimes (such a long name!) wouldn’t succeed in her quest.
Photo from Talking Points Memo
edited/published by eap