Kentucky-based Super PAC posts petitions to draft conservative and liberal challengers to McConnell

01/09/2013 02:21 PM

Progress Kentucky, a Kentucky based Super PAC, launched an online campaign on Wednesday to draft challengers to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, from big-name Democrats to tea party conservatives.

The group’s leaders said in a statement that by launching online petitions, they are giving challengers a chance to see how they would fare against Kentucky’s senior Senator. McConnell has more than $7 million in his campaign war chest and so far has only drawn one challenger: Democrat Ed Marksberry who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010.

Progress Kentucky has launched more than twenty petitions to “draft” possible challengers who span the political spectrum. Each petition asks signers to endorse their chosen candidate.

The Democratic list of potential candidates include:

  • Actress Ashley Judd
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
  • State Sen. Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown
  • Silas House, the Eastern Kentucky author
  • Mathew Barzun, fundraiser for President Barack Obama
  • Teri Blanton, the environmentalist
  • Steve Wilson, the Louisville developer
  • Andrew Horne, a Louisville lawyer and retired lieutenant colonel who ran for Congress in 2006.

It also includes Democrats who have said they don’t plan to run for Senate:

  • 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville
  • Attorney General Jack Conway
  • State Auditor Adam Edelen
  • Crit Luallen, the former state auditor
  • Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Among the tea party Republicans the group suggests:

  • Former gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett
  • New Congressman Thomas Massie of Northern Kentucky’s 4th District
  • Larry Hausman, a co-founder of the Louisville tea party
  • David Adams, a tea party activist who ran Rand Paul’s 2010 U.S. Senate primary run and has clashed with McConnell in the past

And the site even mentioned some high-profile Kentuckians who have been allies of McConnell’s, including the three other Republican congressmen and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who received advice from McConnell throughout Comer’s 2011 run for that office.

Even former Senate President David Williams and current Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown — another McConnell supporter — made the group’s petition list.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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