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Alison Lundergan Grimes’s underwhelming launch — and what it means

July 2, 2013

The Washington Post
By Aaron Blake

Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking on perhaps the most fearsome Republican campaign operation in politics: the team of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That daunting task is what makes her formal announcement on Monday all the more puzzling.

To wit:

* At her press conference, Grimes was flanked by a banner for her 2011 secretary of state campaign rather than a new banner for her Senate campaign.

* Grimes’s announcement was not promoted on her Twitter account, her Facebook page or really by anyone other than her top adviser, who told the Associated Press about the 3 p.m. announcement on Monday morning.

* As of Tuesday afternoon, Grimes still had no campaign Web site, though GrimesforSenate.com and AlisonforSenate.com appear to have been snapped up by someone. That means that anybody who was excited by her launch and wants to contribute money to her campaign has no outlet to do so.

* Grimes showed up more than half an hour late for her press conference, after gathering with advisers and supporters to inform them of her decision.

According to Ryan Alessi, a terrific reporter in Kentucky, people in the room at Grimes’s announcement described it as “unorthodox,” “unprecedented,” “fascinating” and even “surreal.” Grimes didn’t tell even her closest advisers about her decision until she made it.

* She appeared at her press conference for less than five minutes, offering a brief statement and responding to just two questions.

Even before Grimes made her decision, one prominent Democratic consultant grumbled to The Fix that it was a rollout unworthy of a major political campaign. “If it is a ‘yes,’ then this will go down as one of the worst rollouts ever,” said the Democratic consultant, who was granted anonymity to offer a candid assessment.

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