By Alexandra Jaffe - 02/19/13 04:09 PM EST
It features Ed Marksberry, a perennial candidate who was the first to officially launch a challenge to McConnell but who is not considered a serious candidate by top Democrats in the state; Matthew Barzun, a top Obama fundraiser and a likely pick for British ambassador; actress Ashley Judd, who has faced early criticism that she doesn't live in Kentucky and is too liberal; and Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky secretary of State, who has been urged by Democrats in the state to consider launching a bid.
The ad also includes former State Auditor Crit Luallen, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Attorney General Jack Conway, considered top picks for the candidacy, throwing cold water on Senate speculation.
It was sent to McConnell supporters in a fundraising email and appears at a standalone website, ObamasKentuckyCandidate.com, which the campaign says will be updated as the Democratic recruiting efforts continue.
“We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target,” said Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, in a statement. “We thought we would have a little fun with the problems they’ve been had [sic] finding someone to carry President Obama’s banner in Kentucky."
Obama is very unpopular in Kentucky, with an underwater favorability rating in the last poll, conducted in December of last year by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. He lost the state by more than 20 percentage points in 2012, and McConnell's campaign will work to tie any potential contender to Obama in hopes that, even in a midterm year, the president will weigh the Democrat down in the race.
Democrats, for their part, believe McConnell is vulnerable, but finding a strong candidate willing to launch a bid against the Senate minority leader, who currently has more than $7 million in his campaign coffers, will be a tough task.