Alison Lundergan Grimes was always a long shot to win a Senate race against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. She had to buck midterm history and a powerful anti-Democratic national sentiment in a state with no Obama coalition to beat a man who has mastered Kentucky politics and relishes the fight. And the preliminary results suggest that Grimes didn't come all that close as the race was called the second the polls closed statewide.
Still, at 35 years old, it's hard to imagine that this was Grimes's last big race. So, what might she run for next?
She can seek reelection for her current office — no other Democrat has declared for that race, a key sign that she is the favorite and would win easily. There is also the governor's race next year — Kentucky's statewide office elections are in odd years — though she would have some ground to make up, as the current attorney general, Jack Conway, has already declared and is running hard. Come 2016, Sen. Rand Paul is likely to seek the White House, opening up another opportunity for Grimes to run, since current Kentucky law bars a candidate from seeking two federal offices simultaneously.
Grimes's next race will have to be carefully chosen. Lose once — particularly in a year like this, to a candidate like McConnell— and no one holds it against you. Lose twice — in a row — and you become a political persona non grata.