Could Democrats' failure to strongly challenge McConnell fuel GOP takeover of state House?

01/18/2013 05:58 PM

Without much fanfare, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell opened his campaign headquarters this month in an office building overlooking Louisville’s Watterson Expressway.

His campaign manager, Jesse Benton, has begun laying the groundwork for the most well-funded, presidential-like statewide race Kentucky has ever seen. McConnell is expected to report his latest fundraising numbers next week but had more than $7 million on hand at the last quarter.

But so far no other Republicans have stepped up to challenge McConnell in a primary and only one Democrat has — Ed Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor who ran a limited and unsuccessful campaign for the 2nd Congressional District in 2010.

Benton said the campaign hasn’t given much thought to how to use McConnell’s extensive warchest if he doesn’t have a well-funded, strongly-backed opponent. But he said leftover money could fuel other Republican efforts in Kentucky. Watch the full report to see what he says:

Democrats currently control the state House with 55 seats to 44 for Republicans with an open seat to be decided in a Feb. 12 special election. Republicans made a push in 2012 but fell short after Democrats out-spent them a successfully defended all but two of their incumbents.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • waybert17 wrote on January 19, 2013 09:24 AM :

    Having a two-party state is good for any state, because it makes the political parties complete….and not take any voter for granted. When you live in a one-party dominated state, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, then you will have a state that is economically depressed and socially backward, along with being at the bottom of every economical/social list. Kentucky would be a lot better off if….Democrats didn’t dominate so many of the political elected offices, along with the bureaucracies of the state.

  • viewer wrote on January 19, 2013 01:28 PM :

    There is a lot I like about Mitch and some I dont. But I’m hoping that some business person with no ties to politics comes out against him. Gop or Dems. I dont care. He has had his time and not much has changed in Ky in his tenure. Yes he is powerfull in Washington , but that hasnt trickled down here to the bluegrass. Change is needed in KY….

  • viewer wrote on January 19, 2013 01:40 PM :

    Money has taken over this country. A few rich men control everything we do when we get up and go to bed. Are lives are not free and we dont have a say in anything. Career politicians have got a lot to do with this. Stop the madness by falling in line with the party and not asking for more than we are getting now. When a Senator is so feared like Mitch is in this state , how can we have new ideas and direction , that our state is so badly in need of ???? He has had over 20years to try his plan. Howd we do…..

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