POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 11:05pm
UPDATED: Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 9:44am
(CNN) — Not wasting any time, the group tasked with getting Democrats elected to the Senate is already on the offensive against the most powerful Republican in the upper chamber.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released its first political ad of the cycle Thursday, targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as he faces re-election in November 2014.
Using a March Madness theme, the 60-second radio ad mimics play-by-play commentary during a basketball game to describe what the DSCC considers failures of leadership by the five-term senator from Kentucky.
"Boomshakala. McConnell dunks on the middle class--again," one of the faux-broadcasters says, as cheers and the squeaking of shoes on a basketball court can be heard in the background.
The ad will run in major markets across Kentucky from March 28-April 3.
McConnell's team said the ad is a sign that Democrats are worried they don't yet have a candidate to run against the senator.
"Having failed on their tenth attempt to recruit a candidate against Senator McConnell, team Obama is frantically trying to keep the story alive that Kentucky is competitive for them," said campaign manager Jesse Benton, responding to the ad. "While they're running misleading ads Senator McConnell will be focused on protecting Kentucky from Washington's bad ideas."
The ad's release comes one day after actress and activist Ashley Judd announced she would not challenge McConnell for his seat. A spokesman for the DSCC said, however, the timing of the new ad had nothing to with Judd's decision.
"We were planning on going today anyway," national press secretary Justin Barasky told CNN.
"We just thought it was about time," he continued, pointing to money McConnell has already spent on ads. "We're serious about going after his seat...He's vulnerable, so we're getting started early."
McConnell released his first spot earlier this month, a commercial that featured his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, hitting back at an anti-McConnell, progressive group that attacked Chao's ethnicity on Twitter.
While Democrats in Kentucky have yet to put forth a serious contender for the nomination, eyes are turning to Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State. Grimes has not ruled out a bid against McConnell, and was touted as a top potential candidate during a conference call with Democratic officials earlier this month.
Barasky said he's not sure when the party will have a candidate in Kentucky but expressed confidence in their potential to oust McConnell, saying they're "not in a huge rush to find someone."
Whoever challenges McConnell, however, will be running against a veteran senator with a robust war chest. In all, McConnell's campaign had $7.3 million cash on hand as of their last filing with the Federal Election Commission.
CNN's Shannon Travis, Paul Steinhauser, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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