Grimes the choice for Democrats

May 11, 2014 

Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes

There's never been any doubt that Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes would outshine her three challengers in the May 20 primary or that she would win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Less clear was whether Grimes could put together an organization and war chest capable of threatening Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's hold on the seat.

Grimes has used this primary season to erase both of those doubts. Though no one could have overtaken McConnell's money advantage, Grimes exceeded McConnell's first-quarter fund-raising and seems on track to raise enough money to get her message out.

She also has already withstood a negative barrage from groups supporting McConnell without committing any major errors.

Grimes, who says the race is about "fixing what's wrong with Washington, D.C.," is making a largely economic appeal to voters. She vows to defend traditional Kentucky industries like coal while creating new jobs and diversifying the economy through government investment in infrastructure, education, worker training, research and development.

She also promises to put more money into working people's pockets by raising the minimum wage, making childcare more affordable and ensuring workplace fairness for women.

Grimes' youth and gender can be advantages. But, fair or not, they will also raise questions in some voters' minds about whether she has the maturity, toughness and knowledge to succeed in the Senate. Showing that she does is one of the challenges facing her heading toward November.

Of the other three Democrats, University of Louisville communications professor Gregory Brent Leichty and Navy vet and retired Naval Ordnance Station worker Tom Recktenwald accepted our interview invitations.

Neither voices significant disagreements with Grimes. Both stress the corrupting effects of big money politics and the need for campaign finance reform. On that, they are on solid ground. But, sadly, until the system is cleaned up, candidates, like them who can't or won't raise money, won't be able to do much about it.

Democrats should support Grimes.

Unendorsed candidates who met with the editorial board may submit 250-word responses by noon Wednesday.

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