McConnell Mired In Tough Fight

Frankfort, Ky. — U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for a tough re-election fight next year in Kentucky.

He wants to prevent one, too.

McConnell is trying to head off a Gop primary challenge by cozying up to the tea party. He's also trying to scare off potential Democratic contenders – actress Ashley Judd is one – by providing a glimpse of his no-holds-barred political tactics.

The strategy seems to be working, so far. No serious Republican opponent has emerged. Democrats haven't fielded a candidate yet, though Judd, a Kentucky native who lives in Tennessee, is considering a run. She would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell.

The lack of an opponent hasn't kept McConnell from sounding an alarm over his potential vulnerability. It's a tactic rooted in reality and intended to help raise money.

"We know that President Obama's allies in
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