Yarmuth says his party must move swiftly to find a young Democrat to challenge McConnell

09/17/2012 04:19 PM

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D- Louisville, said a younger Democrat would make the ideal challenger to “contrast” with Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election in 2014.

Yarmuth, who is facing his own re-election bid this year, said Democrats need to act fast to mount a challenger to McConnell.

“I think probably the first three four months next year somebody has to surface in order to have the time to make the case to challenge Senator McConnell,” Yarmuth said.

McConnell, 70, has been in office since January 1985 and is seeking his sixth term. He raised $9 million and had $6 million on hand as of July and last week hired former aide to Ron and Rand Paul, Jesse Benton, as his campaign manager.

Yarmuth also said he didn’t believe the recent Bluegrass Poll that showed McConnell with a job approval rating among Kentuckians of above 50 percent.

The poll of 606 likely voters was conducted for The Courier-Journal. It was conducted Sept. 11 through the 13th by SurveyUSA.

“It runs counter to, first of all, the survey we’ve taken, and I think the last survey taken statewide that was on his popularity,” Yarmuth said. “I don’t really believe that’s an accurate poll.”

But if the numbers are correct Yarmuth did offer a reason into why McConnell may be showing the high marks.

“He has a way of speaking to constituencies in a way that are misleading and sometimes not particularly honest, and I’ve tried to correct the record on many of the things he has, but I’m not sure that a lot of Kentuckians actually know he is misleading them on many important issues. Particularly the Affordable Care Act,” Yarmuth said. Yarmuth has previously challenged McConnell to a debate about the effects of the health care legislation.

Pure Politics caught up with Yarmuth at announcement for federal grant money to Bellarmine University in Louisville. Yarmuth presented $600,000 in new federal grant funding for scholarships that promote studies in chemistry, physics, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The money through the National Science Foundation will allow the university to award 20 scholarships to students every year for the next four years uses federal funds. But Bellarmine is a private institution prompting some to question how the money was awarded.


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