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Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes to run against Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell

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By Tim Ghianni

(Reuters) – U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, will face a 2014 election challenge from popular Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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At a press conference on Monday in Frankfort, the state capital, Grimes announced her candidacy and said McConnell, who has represented the state in the Senate for 28 years, has been obstructionist in Washington and is out of touch with average citizens.

A poll in late May by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found McConnell and Grimes tied at 45 percent each. The poll also showed McConnell with a 44 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval rating.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately attacked Grimes, issuing a statement after her announcement saying that Grimes would oppose the coal industry, a fixture of the Kentucky economy for decades.

“Just last year, Alison Lundergan Grimes stood proudly at the Democratic National Convention to nominate Barack Obama, who has followed through on his promise to destroy the coal industry; in essence declared a war on the state of Kentucky and the middle class families who call it home,” the statement said.

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Obama lost Kentucky in the presidential election last year, but the state has a history of electing moderate Democrats to statewide office. In addition to Grimes, the state has a Democratic governor. The state’s other U.S. senator is Rand Paul, a conservative Republican.

McConnell was elected Republican leader in 2006. He first won election to the U.S. Senate in 1984, defeating a long-time incumbent to become the first Republican to win a statewide Kentucky race since 1968.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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