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Messy, high-profile race expected in McConnell-Grimes match-up

Alison Lundergan Grimes officially entered a bid for U.S.

Alison Lundergan Grimes officially entered a bid for U.S. Senate on Monday, setting the stage for a messy match-up against Republican incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grimes, the 34-year-old Kentucky secretary of state, comes from a powerful, well-connected Kentucky political family; Democrats believe that Grimes is their best shot at defeating McConnell, 71, for a seat he's held for nearly 30 years in a state Mitt Romney won easily.

State Democrats have high hopes for Grimes' ability to "build on moderate voters and women in that state,” Politico’s Patrick Gavin said. "She’s not sort of just some random politician. Her dad was a former state party chairman. Her family has deep connections with the Clintons, so I think you can expect to see the Clintons down there. It could be one of these nasty races.”

McConnell, for his part, aims to paint her as a Washington liberal, unable to understand average Kentuckians—a pro-McConnell group has already released an ad tying her to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama.

Fueling the fire will be deep coffers: McConnell has already raised $13 million for his re-election race, according to a local paper. Money isn't likely to be an issue for Grimes’ race, either, Gavin said.

“When you have connections to the Clintons and let’s be honest, every Democrat around the country who wants to see Mitch McConnell gone, she’s going to tap into resources not only in Kentucky but around the country," he said. "I don’t think money will be an issue.”