Former Democratic congressional candidate Marksberry to challenge McConnell in 2014

12/12/2012 03:51 PM

The first Democrat in the race to announce a challenge to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is not a name that has been getting much early buzz — but that of Owensboro home builder and contractor Ed Marksberry.

Marksberry lost the 2nd congressional district race in 2010 receiving 32 percent of the vote against Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green. Marksberry ran that campaign on a shoe-string budget.

In a sparsely attended announcement in Louisville on Wednesday, Marksberry quickly outlined his decision to challenge McConnell in a run for U.S. Senate.

“The voice of the working class people is not being heard in Washington D.C. and today we have so much obstructionism coming from our own leadership. And for over two decades Kentuckians have suffered while he has enriched himself,” Marksberry said.

Marksberry would be the first potential challenger to McConnell in the 2014 race. He said by starting early he could give himself time to catch up on fundraising. A campaign manager for Marksberry said he already has several fundraisers lined up.

McConnell, meanwhile, has raised over $10 million in this cycle.

McConnell has a fundraising dinner lined up in Washington DC on Dec. 18 hosted by Koch Industries, and will cost guests $1,000 and political action committees $2,500.

Marksberry said the campaign was part referendum on McConnell, but said he also will focus on availability of jobs and healthcare, although he said he hasn’t crafted a specific platform yet.

While Marksberry tacitly acknowledged he might be a long-shot candidate, he said he hopes the Kentucky Democratic Party learns from what he considered its mistake in 2006. Then-state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo was written off early but nearly upset Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

Other Democrats being mentioned as potential candidates in the 2014 Senate race include Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, actress Ashley Judd and President Obama’s chief fundraiser in 2012, Matthew Barzun.


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