Respect him or not, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership role in Washington cannot be ignored.

For weeks speculation has been growing about who will take on the powerful GOP leader two years from now. One Democrat—Owensboro home builder Ed Marksberry—has stepped forward, but with little excitement.

The national media has focused much of its attention on actress Ashley Judd, who would bring Hollywood star power to the race.

But prominent state Democratic leaders have voiced skepticism if not outright opposition to her celebrity candidacy in the commonwealth.

Others point to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who many view as the most popular choice. And a recent survey showed Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is within striking distance.

Kentucky’s 2014 Senate race is already being considered one of the top 10 contests to watch, however, none of the Democrats being rumored are leading McConnell in a new survey released by Public Policy Polling this week.

That is leaving an open question of can state Democrats find a candidate.

From The Washington Post:

The Democratic bench in Kentucky is thin (and popular Gov. Steve Beshear has already said no)…

The question is whether they can come up with someone with a real shot of defeating the GOP Senate leader. A PPP poll  this week showed McConnell leading all comers, despite some poor approval ratings — a number the McConnell camp disputes.

Louisville Young Republicans President James Young, LEO Weekly’s Joe Sonka and Kentucky Public Radio’s Kenny Colston offered their views on what the new polling numbers mean, McConnell’s potential opponents and whether it’s too early to talk about the 2014 election.