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Gabby Giffords is someone you don't reckon with:

A gun safety group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords began running radio ads in Kentucky on Wednesday charging that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to background checks ignores the will of his constituents.

“Eighty-two percent of Kentuckians support universal background checks. But Senator McConnell voted against them,” the ad says. “McConnell opposed common-sense checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

The ads are sponsored by Americans for Responsible Solutions, started by Giffords and her husband, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords was shot in the head during a district event in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people died and 12 others in addition to the congresswoman were injured in the shooting.

Her group backed a Senate amendment aimed at expanding background checks on gun purchasers. While a majority of the Senate supported the checks on April 17, the measure fell six votes short of the 60 votes needed for passage. McConnell, R-Ky., voted against the amendment.

The radio spots are airing in Louisville and Lexington with a buy of a little more than $50,000, according to Jen Bluestein, spokeswoman for the Giffords group. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/24/13

You can listen to the radio ad here:

And Giffords group isn't going to stop there:

Giffords, a former congresswoman and Democrat, and Kelly, her husband and a retired astronaut, have become vocal advocates for gun control since she was severely wounded in a shooting rampage in 2011 in Tucson. Giffords wrote last week that she was "furious" after the Senate vote.

Americans for Responsible Solutions says it will release more ads this week targeting other senators for their gun votes. Ads are also planned to thank senators who voted for the expanded background checks on gun buyers. - USA Today, 4/24/13

Here's McConnell's response to the ad:

U.S. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during an interview with Reuters in Washington August 2, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2GZIK
In the aftermath of the victory, the McConnell campaign was celebratory in fundraising messages and social networking, but in a response to the Giffords ad it took a more reconciliatory tone.

"Sen. McConnell commends Gabby Giffords for her courage and perseverance, but in Kentucky we have a fundamental disagreement with a gun-control agenda," McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told USA Today. "President Obama's allies have been attacking Sen. McConnell on this issue for months but his support for Kentuckians' Second Amendment rights will not waiver." - WFPL News, 89.3, 4/24/13

This isn't the first time McConnell's been attacked for his stance on gun control.  Bold Progressives were filling local airwaves in Kentucky with attack ads on McConnell's pro-gun ties:

McConnell has been fundraising and gloating about killing universal background checks with stupid memes like this on his Facebook page:

But with his approval ratings in the tank and pro-gun control groups like Giffords hitting McConnell in the airwaves, McConnell is running scared and gearing up to fight back:

It’s now clear that a new political action committee’s primary goal will be to help U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell win re-election. And the group says it will spend a boatload of cash to do so.

Three weeks ago, a senior adviser for Kentuckians for Strong Leadership said that the group’s goal was to be involved in federal races in Kentucky and that McConnell’s re-election would be within the group’s “purview.”

But in a release issued Tuesday, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership made clear that the race isn’t just in its purview but is its primary objective.

“President Obama and his liberal allies know they can’t achieve the rest of their big government agenda unless they take out Senator Mitch McConnell, and we will raise and spend whatever it takes to prevent that from happening,” Scott Jennings, a senior adviser to the group, said in a release.

“Obama’s allies have demonstrated they will stoop to dishonest, gutter-level tactics because they know McConnell is the most effective firewall Kentucky has against the Obama agenda,” said Jennings, who is also a part-time columnist for The Courier-Journal. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/24/13

Here's a list of who's on the board of the Kentuckians for Strong Leadership Super PAC:

■ Steven Law, president of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. He is a former Deputy Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush, chief of staff to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

■ Riggs Lewis, a partner in The Rotunda Group, a Kentucky-based government affairs firm. Lewis is an attorney and has been a Republican political consultant on numerous local, state and federal campaigns. He is a well-known business leader in Louisville.

■ Gail Russell, a partner with a Louisville law firm. Russell was formerly Kentucky's Republican National Committeewoman. -, 4/23/13

The fact that we have McConnell on the run and that has already has to spend big to combat these attacks shows that he's scared of losing and he should be.  Now all we need is a candidate and hopefully she'll be making her decision very soon:

After a busy legislative session and a business trip to Taiwan, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is pondering whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.

Grimes, a Democrat, said Tuesday she is "now going to take the time to reflect with my family, my supporters on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Grimes did not set a timetable for making a decision, saying only that she will "give it the due diligence it deserves."

Political observers differ on how quickly Grimes should decide.

"There's more pressure on her now to run than need be," said University of Kentucky political science professor Donald Gross, noting that primary elections in the U.S. Senate race are still 13 months away.

But Democratic consultant Danny Briscoe of Louisville said delaying a decision could hurt Grimes' future political career.

"Her negative ratings will go up, thanks to McConnell attacks, and help her opponents if she's really thinking about future state races like governor or attorney general," Briscoe said. "If it takes six weeks for her to decide, the McConnell camp will spend $500,000 attacking her. How much more information does she need?" - Lexington Herald-Leader, 4/23/13

The sooner Grimes can make her decision, the better.  I understand it's a big decision to make but the longer she waits the more money McConnell raises and can spend attacking her.  Balls in her court.  So far contractor Ed Marksberry of Owensboro and Louisville musician and music promoter Bennie J. Smith have said they will challenge McConnell.  However, a new name has come about that we should keep our eye on:

Tom FitzGerald, whose name is synonymous with environmental protection in Kentucky, is considering a possible run for the U.S. Senate next year against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.

"This is very preliminary," FitzGerald, a lawyer and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "You've heard of testing the waters. I haven't even taken off my shoes yet."

FitzGerald, a lifelong Democrat who has never sought public office, said he is being encouraged to challenge McConnell and thinks McConnell's tenure in the U.S. Senate since January 1985 should come to an end.

"I've seen the devolution of McConnell as a progressive, modern county judge in Jefferson County to an increasingly right-wing politician who is defined more by protecting power than meeting the needs of Kentuckians," he said.

FitzGerald, 58, said he expects to make a decision about the U.S. Senate race by mid-May.

If he runs, FitzGerald said he would resign his job with the non-profit resources council, which he has held since 1984. - Lexington Herald-Leader, 4/24/13

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, My Old Kentucky Kos, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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