LEXINGTON — Critics panned Alison Lundergan Grimes’ initial announcement that she’s running for the U.S. Senate.
She got it right the second time.
More than 1,500 people showed up here to listen to the first-term Democratic Secretary of State who wants to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Grimes told the crowd it’s “time to switch” senators, time after nearly three decades of McConnell who Grimes and others Tuesday said “cares only about himself,” time to send someone to Washington who will “put Kentucky first.”
The enthusiastic crowd was treated to a video message on a giant 25-by-12 foot video screen from former President Bill Clinton, the last Democrat to carry Kentucky in a presidential race. Clinton said not only Kentucky but the entire country needs people like Grimes who will work across party lines “for the sake of the country.”
“This campaign will be long and hard,” Clinton said. “But you can win it. You can win it for Kentucky, for your children.”
Grimes was preceded by introductions of former Democratic governors and current constitutional officers and a speech by Gov. Steve Beshear, who chimed in on one of the campaign’s themes: that after 28 years of McConnell, “it is time for a change. If there was ever a time, it is now.”
Beshear, who has in the past feuded with Grimes’ father, former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, has said he will campaign for and raise money for Grimes. Several members of Beshear’s administration, including Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, were also on hand to show support.
Democratic state House Speaker Greg Stumbo vowed that Democrats “stand united as a party behind Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign.”
But even Clinton was upstaged by Grimes’ 83-year-old grandmother, Elsie Case, who starred with Grimes’ other grandmother in a celebrated 2011 campaign ad when Grimes ran for Secretary of State and is in a 2013 web video the campaign is running.