Former U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford says Kentucky Democrats lack the “firepower” to defeat Republican Mitch McConnell in next year’s election.

The Louisville businessman ran against McConnell in 2008 and came within six percentage points of defeating the GOP leader.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is considered the top contender for the Democratic nomination in 2014. She is being courted by national Democrats and encouraged by state party officials as well, but Grimes has taking her time to announce any intentions.

Perhaps warning Grimes against running, Lunsford says any potential challenger needs to know the risks of McConnell running a negative campaign could damage their political future.

From ABC News:

“There is really no sitting Democrat that I can think of right now that has the firepower, monetarily, or has enough gravitas to take him on significantly,” Lunsford told ABC News. “I’d be surprised if anybody can run against him who thinks they have a further career in politics.”


“I don’t think there is any Democratic candidate who would be willing to risk the damage that he could do to them in a negative campaign,” Lunsford said in an interview. “It’s going to be very hard for Senator McConnell to lose.”

A pair of Democratic-leaning super PACs launched a $250,000 ad campaign against McConnell, which is a sign the race is still in play nationally. Late last week it was announced GOP affiliated super PAC planned to defend McConnell in a new advertisement.