The chair of the Louisville Democratic Party says he’d prefer Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to make a quick decision on challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.
Grimes is scheduled to appear at the party’s annual Wendell Ford Dinner in Louisville on Thursday evening, but an announcement on the U.S. Senate race is not expected.
Pressure is mounting on Grimes to decide and attacks from a pro-McConnell super PAC have already been launched in newspaper ads.
Last month, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL Grimes needed to make an immediate decision on running or risk hurting the party.
Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party Chair Bill Ryan says he doesn’t agree Grimes is doing the party a disservice, but that it would be bet better to know the secretary of state’s intentions now rather than later.
“I would like to see her make her mind up in the next few weeks. That would make it a whole lot simpler for the Democratic Party to find other candidates … that are considering to go ahead and say they’re going to run,” he says. “But as far as bullying her, no I’m not going to say she should or should not get into the race. If she wants to take up to January to decide that’s her business.”
A recent Public Policy Polling survey showed Grimes tied with McConnell, and she is being heavily recruited by national Democrats to take on the GOP leader.
It is expected Democrats will use the dinner to pounce on McConnell where Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, as the keynote speaker.
Grimes will likely take a turn at hammering the GOP leader, but she has stiff armed persistent media questions about if she is running or not, and told The Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth she is still “gathering the facts” and will continue to talk to supporters.
Advisers close to Grimes tell WFPL several Democrats are encouraging her to get in the 2014 race and a decision will be made soon.
In the meantime, other potential opponents such as former Miss America Heather French Henry and environmental lawyer Tom FitzGerald are mulling a bid. For Democrats who believe there is plenty of time for Grimes and others to decide, there is a concern about a potential primary battle.
“I think we got until January 26 or whenever to come with a candidate, and I don’t think we should push anybody in to running who really isn’t ready to run,” says Ryan. “.”
Asked if that means Grimes is not prepared, Ryan said the secretary of state and any other rumored candidates could beat McConnell due to his poor approval ratings.