National Democrats unsure of Plan B for McConnell race, D.C. analyst says

04/04/2013 04:33 PM

The consensus among Democrats in D.C. is beginning to be that running against Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is the hardest assignment in politics.

Kentucky native Perry Bacon Jr. of MSNBC says Kentucky politics have been at the top of the national news cycle in recent weeks, especially the 2014 re-election of McConnell.

But Bacon says without a challenger to the Republican leader of the Senate, Democrats are beginning to focus on other national races.

“I know Democrats I’ve talked to in Washington that say at this point there’s not a whole lot of need to spend a lot of money and time on Mitch McConnell who is probably going to win anyway,” Bacon said. “Their view is focus the money on vulnerable democrats already in the Senate as opposed to the off chance of beating someone in a state where Obama lost by more than 20 points.”

Bacon says actress Ashley Judd deciding against a run was a shock to many in D.C. because she seemed pretty far along in the process of launching a campaign.

“She was talking about hiring Anita Dunn, who was Obama’s first Communications Director, to advise her. So when you’ve hired someone like that and people in Washington know that, they think you’re pretty serious about it” (at 1:30).

Bacon said people in Washington were excited about Judd because she could have potentially been a self-funder and raised money in other areas of the country. But with Judd out of the running, Democrats are looking to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes but she still has not made a decision on whether or not she will run.

And while there isn’t an obvious candidate Democrats in D.C. to root for, many still hope Grimes will run because they think she could take on McConnell without a lot of money as the party sees the race shaping up to cost close to $30 million, Bacon said.

As for Kentucky’s other U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, Bacon said he doesn’t see Paul as being out of step with the current issues that McConnell or other Republicans are vocal about.

Bacon said he believes Paul will be running for president in 2016 and that he is taking the role of party sharper as opposed to the approach some of the other possible 2016 candidates are taking.

“He’s not really guiding the sort of partisan day to day fight, he’s got a longer game in mind. I think if you look at Marco Rubio, he is more involved in the day to day fights and that is why he’s having trouble navigating exactly what to say on immigration and so on,” Bacon said (at 11:15).

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


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