Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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May 19, 2014

Confident Grimes appears ready to take on McConnell

LOUISVILLE — The woman who wants to topple five-term incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and become the first woman elected to the Senate from Kentucky rolled into the state’s largest city Monday afternoon, sounding like she’s itching for a fight.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and McConnell are each heavily favored to win their respective primaries Tuesday, and given comments by both Monday, it won’t take them long to shift gears into the general election.

Grimes has focused on McConnell all along while the Republican had to tend with a challenge from Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin. But McConnell, too, in recent days has all but ignored Bevin and directed his comments toward Grimes – or rather national Democrats like President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

He told reporters earlier Monday he’ll be ready to begin the general election “tomorrow,” presumably as soon as Tuesday’s primary vote tally is complete. Grimes sounded ready and her campaign manager, Jonathan Hurst, said Grimes will be up with an ad Wednesday morning responding to some of McConnell’s attacks on the Democrat.

But McConnell may find the Grimes who ended the bus tour Monday in Lexington isn’t the same stump speaker who began the campaign last July with a hastily arranged and awkward press conference and who often sounded scripted and uncertain when speaking.

Monday night she seemed more than comfortable in the role, and hit all of her lines. She told the enthusiastic crowd, which contained several blue collar and union laborers, that she isn’t the empty dress some McConnell supporters once called her.

“This woman,” Grimes said, “she’s not an empty dress; she’s not a cheerleader; she’s not a rubber stamp; she’s an independent Kentucky woman.”

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