Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is out with his first ad of the 2014 election cycle. It's a three-minute, Web-only spoof that pokes fun at President Obama and an array of Democrats who might challenge McConnell, the five-term Kentucky senator.
"Obama's Kentucky Candidate" stitches together video from the president at rallies and speeches, where he calls on members of the audience, with out-of-context statements from Democrats who have been floated as potential McConnell rivals — and others who have said they will pass on challenging the top Republican in the Senate. McConnell himself does not make an appearance.
For those living outside the borders of Kentucky (and quite possibly for many of those living in the Bluegrass State) the Democrats in the video aren't what you would call household names. Ed Marksberry, who was soundly defeated in a bid to win the state's 2nd Congressional District seat in 2010, and who formally announced his challenge to McConnell in December; former Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun; Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes; and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson.
The ad also features actress Ashley Judd, who has said she is mulling a run for the seat. It continues the theme of an American Crossroads superPAC ad questioning the entertainer's allegiance to Kentucky.
Both ads lean heavily on humor, but the reason for the early jump against largely undeclared candidates might be found in a recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll, in which twice as many Kentucky residents said they plan to vote against McConnell as to vote for him next year.
McConnell is seeking re-election to a sixth term, and will have spent three decades in the Senate when his fifth term ends in January 2015. In addition to whatever Democratic candidate eventually emerges in the race, The Hill newspaper reported Monday that McConnell could face a Tea Party-backed challenge in the Republican primary next year.