Grimes hasn't made decision about Senate yet but needs to be 'deliberative,' consultant says

03/27/2013 04:47 PM

With Ashley Judd bowing out of the Democratic U.S. Senate drama, the spotlight falls squarely on Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes hasn’t ruled out running in 2014 for the chance to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. But she has repeatedly deflected questions about the race saying she was focused on working on her priorities in the 2013 state legislative session. The General Assembly ended Tuesday night.

Dale Emmons, a political consultant who worked on Grimes’ 2011 campaign and is a close family friend of the Lundergans, said Judd’s announcement isn’t an indication that Grimes has made up her mind.

“I don’t think there’s any connection between the two,” Emmons told Pure Politics after Judd’s announcement went public. “The good news is that this allows Alison to make any decision she’s going to make out of the fog” of having to be concerned about Judd’s plans.

Emmons said Grimes needs to be “deliberative” over the coming weeks.

“She and her husband need to decide whether this is what they want to do with their public involvement … and if this is what she wants to do for her career,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Grimes said Grimes didn’t “have any comment about Ashley Judd’s decision.”

Emmons was among several Kentucky Democrats quoted in many national publications expressing doubt about a Judd candidacy because of her past statements about coal and other issues and a perceived disconnect between Judd and rural Democratic voters.

He said Wednesday the strong interest in Judd — and now Grimes — is fueled by the prominence and “unpopularity” of McConnell, the Senate Republican leader. He said Kentucky voters won’t buy McConnell’s recent pitch that he made to the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce this week that he is a force for compromise.

“He doesn’t have a compromising bone in his body. I’m hopeful and confident we will find someone to hold him accountable,” he said.

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