Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes filed paperwork with the U.S. Senate clerk to officially enter the race to take on incumbent Mitch McConnell next year.
Two weeks ago Grimes, a Democrat, announced her intentions to run for the seat held by the Republican leader at the urging of state and national Democrats.
Since then Grimes has been courting national donors with an ambitious fundraising goal between $26 to $30 million. This past weekend, Grimes reportedly impressed those at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee retreat in Martha’s Vineyard.
In her first campaign e-mail message, Grimes says she has received overwhelming support since announcing and plans to build a grassroots campaign to match McConnell’s hefty fundraising machine.
“This campaign is going to require all of us to stand up,” says Grimes. “We need to stand up to the Washington insiders and their Super PACs. We need to stand up and demand that we elect leaders who will work to move Kentucky forward.”
Grimes didn’t mention McConnell by name in the campaign e-mail, but she took plenty of shots at the GOP leader who has amassed nearly $10 million for his re-election bid.
Just last week the McConnell campaign said it raised $2.2 million in the second quarter on its way to run a presidential-style race.
Calling McConnell’s supporters “shadowy special interest groups,” Grimes criticized “Washington insiders” who are funding false attacks against her record.
“We’ll never have a Congress that works together to create the jobs of the future if we don’t replace the people who are failing now to get the job done, and that effort begins with this campaign,” she says. “We need leaders who will work across party lines to deliver results – not dig in their heels and obstruct when they can’t get their way. The people of Kentucky deserve better.”
Grimes admitted she is the underdog in the race and national estimates agree.
Pollster Nate Silver gives Grimes a 20 percent change of wining the seat, citing Kentucky’s deepening conservatism and President Obama’s unpopularity as chief obstacles for a Democratic pick-up.
The Grimes campaign also announced the official campaign kickoff will be July 30 in Lexington.