Lundergan Grimes still mulling Kentucky Senate bid


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“I am now going to take the time to reflect with my family, with my supporters, on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Grimes told reporters in Kentucky, according to local news site Channel 2.

She added, when asked about her timeline for a decision, that she would "give it the due diligence that it deserves."

Lundergan Grimes previously indicated she'd take a close look at launching a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after the state legislative session ended, at the end of March.

Democrats are currently without a candidate to challenge McConnell, though they've said they believe he's one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents going into 2014, citing polling from a Democratic firm that shows he's the most unpopular senator in the nation.

But McConnell has wasted no time in attacking Democrats, attempting to tie the party as a whole to recent tapings of a private discussion between the Senator and aides about potential campaign strategy. He's accused liberal group Progress Kentucky of conducting the recordings, and charged shortly after the recordings were leaked that "that's what the political left does these days."

The FBI is currently investigating the recordings.

Democrats denounced the recording, with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear calling it "deplorable" and others in the state and Washington distancing themselves from the tapes and Progress Kentucky.

But asked about the recordings, Lundergan Grimes seemed to condemn the details of the conversation — in which McConnell's aides could be heard outlining potential lines of attack against Lundergan Grimes and actress Ashley Judd — rather than the fact of the recording.

"I will tell you that in running for Secretary of State, I found that Kentuckians were hungry, were wanting to have people here in Frankfort and, indeed, in Washington D.C., that are about bringing people together, not bringing them down. And I think thats what we need to be doing, not only here for the state, but for the nation as well, is uniting and not dividing," she said.

When prompted by a reporter to respond to the fact that someone conducted a recording of McConnell's private conversations, Lundergan Grimes again repeated her denunciation of the contents of the conversation.

Kentucky Republicans seized on the opportunity to tie Lundergan Grimes to Progress Kentucky co-founder Shawn Reilly, who was implicated in the recordings by McConnell.

In 2011, when Lundergan Grimes was still running for Secretary of State, she evidently met with Reilly, according to a photo of the two he tweeted out with the caption "Great meeting w @alisonforsos in Louisville," he wrote. "I think she will win in may[.] vote alison."

Kentucky GOP Chairman Steve Robertson noted the tweet, and accused Lundergan Grimes of "feel[ing] obligated to protect [Progress Kentucky's] actions."

"Today, Secretary of State Grimes was given the opportunity to break her silence and comment on the actions of liberal group Progress Kentucky. However, instead of taking the time to address the issue, she once again refused to condemn what so many Kentucky Democrats have already called out as inappropriate and wrong," he said.

Lundergan Grimes issued a statement on Wednesday, the day after her comments came to light, distancing herself from the group, saying outright that she doesn't "condone racial or ethnic denigration" or "the content of the recording...or the context in which it was allegedly obtained."

"I do not have a relationship with Progress Kentucky. And strained attempts to fabricate one based on a two-year-old photo taken during a statewide campaign in which thousands of photos were taken is merely a continuation of the desperate and personally destructive tactics invented by Senator McConnell and displayed in the recording by Senator McConnell himself," she said.

--This post was updated to reflect Lundergan Grimes' statement and to clarify polling on McConnell.