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Difference between revisions of "United States Senate elections in Kentucky, 2014"

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(Potential Democratic candidates)
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===Potential Democratic candidates===
===Potential Democratic candidates===
*{{bluedot}} [[Ed Marksberry]] ''(Declared)''<ref name=sen14/>
*{{bluedot}} [[Ed Marksberry]] ''(Declared)''<ref name=sen14/>
*{{bluedot}} [[Alison Lundergan Grimes]] - [[Kentucky Secretary of State]]<ref name=sen14>[ ''Public Policy Polling,'' "McConnell remains extremely unpopular," April 9, 2013]</ref>
*{{bluedot}} [[Alison Lundergan Grimes]] (Declared) - [[Kentucky Secretary of State]]<ref name=sen14>[ ''Public Policy Polling,'' "McConnell remains extremely unpopular," April 9, 2013]</ref><ref>[ ''WHAS'' "Grimes to challenge McConnell in 2014" Accessed July 1, 2013]</ref>
*{{bluedot}} [[Heather French Henry]] - Former Miss America<ref>[ ''ABC News'' "Former Miss America May Take On Mitch McConnell" Accessed July 1, 2013]</ref>
*{{bluedot}} [[Heather French Henry]] - Former Miss America<ref>[ ''ABC News'' "Former Miss America May Take On Mitch McConnell" Accessed July 1, 2013]</ref>
*{{bluedot}} [[Bill Garmer]] - Attorney and former state Democratic Party Chairman<ref name="potential">[ ''ABC News'' "Potential McConnell Challenger to Announce Senate Intentions" Accessed July 1, 2013]</ref>
*{{bluedot}} [[Bill Garmer]] - Attorney and former state Democratic Party Chairman<ref name="potential">[ ''ABC News'' "Potential McConnell Challenger to Announce Senate Intentions" Accessed July 1, 2013]</ref>

Revision as of 14:41, 1 July 2013


2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Kentucky

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 20, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Incumbent prior to election:
Mitch McConnell Republican Party
Mitch McConnell.jpg

Race Rating

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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Kentucky.png
Voters in Kentucky will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 4, 2014 elections.

Kentucky has a closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in a primary election is limited to registered members of that party.

The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by Mitch McConnell (R). McConnell was first elected in 1984.


Note: Prior to the signature filing deadline, candidates will be added when Ballotpedia writers come across declared candidates. If you see a name of a candidate who is missing, please email us and we will add that name. As the election draws closer, more information will be added to this page.

Potential Democratic candidates

Potential Republican candidates

Race background

A news report released on November 30, 2012, featured Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell stating his intentions to seek re-election to a sixth term in 2014. “I’m running. Read my lips, I’m running,” he said.[5]

McConnell's re-election prospects looked grim as of the following January, when Politico reported that an unholy alliance had formed between individual, organizational Democratic entities and tea party activists bent on his defeat. According to the report, a coalition of influential Democratic individuals and organizations would offer strategic assistance to a tea party candidate willing to challenge McConnell in the Republican primary election. Even if McConnell survives the primary challenge, the Democrats reason, it will weaken him for battle in the general election. The Democratic party already has a voter registration advantage in Kentucky, and party members involved in the strategy believe that by lending financial and organizational support to a formidable Republican primary candidate, they can truly maximize their chances of electing a Democrat to the U.S. Senate seat. "What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual," said Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal group MoveOn and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky.[6]

In 2008, McConnell won re-election to a fifth term and became Kentucky's longest serving senator.[7] McConnell spent approximately $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.[7]

As of February 2013, McConnell already had $6.8 million in the bank for his re-election.[7] endorsement, a national tea party group, declared in May 2013 its support for incumbent McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid.[8] The endorsement will help him defend himself as some tea party activists are searching for a primary challenger against him during his 2014 re-election campaign.[8]

Niger Innis, the chief strategist of said, “With the new revelations that the IRS has been targeting Tea Party groups, we need Sen. McConnell more than ever. He was sounding the alarm about the government’s assault on our First Amendment rights years ago, even when it fell on deaf ears. We all owe Sen. McConnell a debt for his vision and courage.”[8]

McConnell primary challenge

On July 19, 2013, reports circulated that Matt Bevin, an investment executive based in Louisville who had been weighing the possibility of a Republican primary challenge against incumbent Mitch McConnell, booked ads in the Louisville market and had also begun reserving time in Bowling Green.[9]

In a statement, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton dismissed Matt Bevin's campaign as a minor irritant.[9]Matthew Griswold Bevin is not a Kentucky Conservative, he is merely an East Coast con man. While it is sad to see someone who claims to be a Republican doing Barack Obama’s bidding, his campaign is nothing more than a nuisance,” Benton said.[9]

Prior to his official announcement, Bevin spoke with leaders of at least three national right-leaning advocacy groups: the Club for Growth, the Jim DeMint-founded Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project, a small-government group chaired by former Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun.[10]

Bevin officially announced his candidacy on July 24, 2013, at the state capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky. From there, he began a three day tour with eight campaign stops scheduled.[9] Bevin is a political newcomer, but is thought to have significant wealth to use against incumbent McConnell in the primary.[9]

Ashley Judd

Actress Ashley Judd reportedly was considering a run against McConnell in 2014.[11] Judd reportedly spoke with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) about the possibility of a run, and discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and began to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the state.[11]

Initially, whether Judd jumped into the race remained far from certain. She was also reportedly weighing whether to wait until 2016 to instead take on freshman Sen. Rand Paul.[11] If Judd eventually does become a candidate, she would be the biggest celebrity to run for the U.S. Senate since Al Franken’s successful 2008 bid for the Minnesota seat.[11]

Judd lives in Tennessee and would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid.[7][11]

A survey by Republican firm Harper Polling, commissioned by a former McConnell aide, found McConnell received 49 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Judd.[12]

In early March 2013, reports circulated of Judd meeting with well-financed Democratic donors and venturing to Washington D.C for more public engagements.[13] According to Don Peebles, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, a member of President Obama's National Finance Committee, and Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a Judd run is likely much more than a Hollywood fantasy.[13]

Peebles stated, "There looks to be a lot of noise around her running and she's been active in commenting on politics of the day so it is certainly possible. Senate Minority Leader McConnell's approval ratings are low, and a lot of reports show that he is vulnerable to a challenge. While Kentucky leans right, it is not as conservative as most of its neighbors and the voters of Kentucky may be looking to send a message that they don't feel fairly represented by Minority Leader McConnell."[13]

Decision not to run

On March 27, 2013, Judd announced via Twitter that she will not run for Senate in 2014.[14][15] In the tweet, she announced her decision stating, “After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family."[14]


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was tied with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes according to a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Senate Majority PAC, the super PAC backing Democratic Senate candidates. The poll found McConnell and Grimes tied at 45 percent each.[16][17]

A poll from Wenzel Strategies conducted June 1-2, 2013 polled 623 people and found Mitch McConnell (R) ahead of Secretary of State Grimes 46 percent to 39 percent. McConnell beat former Miss America Heather French Henry 45 percent to 40 percent and beat Louisville environmental lawyer Tom Fitzgerald 46 percent to 29 percent according to the poll.[18][19]


McConnell's campaign released a new ad pointing to a series of “dirty” attacks by Democratic outside groups on April 18th, 2013 titled "How Dirty"

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership released an ad run on June 26, "Rubber Stamp"

On April 18, 2013, McConnell's campaign released a new ad pointing to a series of “dirty” attacks by Democratic outside groups.[20] It’s the second time McConnell’s campaign has launched an ad playing up the victim angle.[20] After the Progress Kentucky super PAC got in trouble for racially insensitive tweets about McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, his campaign launched another ad featuring Chao.[20]

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC backing Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, launched a round of TV ads on June 25, 2013 aimed at dissuading Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes from entering the race.[21] She has yet to announce whether she plans to run.[22]

Election history


On November 2, 2010, Rand Paul won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jack Conway (D) and Billy Ray Wilson (Write-In) in the general election.[23]

U.S. Senate General Election, Kentucky, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRand Paul 55.7% 755,706
     Democratic Jack Conway 44.2% 600,052
     Independent Billy Ray Wilson 0% 338
Total Votes 1,356,096


On November 4, 2008, Mitch McConnell won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Bruce Lunsford (D) in the general election.[24]

U.S. Senate General Election, Kentucky, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMitch McConnell Incumbent 53% 953,816
     Democratic Bruce Lunsford 47% 847,005
Total Votes 1,800,821

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Public Policy Polling, "McConnell remains extremely unpopular," April 9, 2013
  2. WHAS "Grimes to challenge McConnell in 2014" Accessed July 1, 2013
  3. ABC News "Former Miss America May Take On Mitch McConnell" Accessed July 1, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 ABC News "Potential McConnell Challenger to Announce Senate Intentions" Accessed July 1, 2013
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named mccon
  6. Politico, "Democrats, tea party unite vs. Mitch McConnell," January 28, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Fox News "Ashley Judd running for Senate in Kentucky?" accessed February 15, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Politico "Targeted Tea Party Group Endorses Mitch McConnell" accessed May 14, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Politico "Possible GOP opponent to Mitch McConnell books airtime" accessed July 22, 2013
  10. Politico "Matt Bevin meets with conservative groups" accessed July 24, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Politico "Ashley Judd exploring Senate run" accessed February 15, 2013
  12. NY Daily News "Ashley Judd could give Mitch McConnell serious run for money in possible Kentucky Senate race: poll" accessed February 15, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 My Fox DC "Source: Ashley Judd moving forward with run for Mitch McConnell's Senate seat in Kentucky" accessed March 8, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Twitter "Ashley Judd" accessed March 28, 2013
  15. Washington Post "Ashley Judd is not running for Senate" accessed March 28, 2013
  16. Huffington Post " Kentucky Senate Poll Shows Mitch McConnell Tied With Alison Lundergan Grimes" Accessed June 6, 2013
  17. Public Policy Polling "Kentucky Polling Memo" Accessed June 6, 2013
  18. "McConnell ahead in new poll" Accessed June 6, 2013
  19. Politico "Survey of Likely Voters Statewide in Kentucky" Accessed June 6, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Washington Post "New McConnell ad plays up Democrats’ ‘dirty’ attacks" Accessed April 19, 2013
  21. Politico "Videoshare" Accessed June 26, 2013
  22. Politico "Kentucky Senate ads heating up" Accessed June 26, 2013
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"