U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is expected to get an early start on a re-election campaign by airing his first TV and radio ad on Thursday.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed the ad buys on Tuesday.
The Senate Republican leader has a hefty campaign bank account, having already raised more than $10 million. In his last financial disclosure, he reported having $7.4 million on hand.
That financial cushion gives McConnell the option to define himself early in TV spots.
Democrats moved quickly to try to paint McConnell's early entry into an advertising campaign as a sign that he's worried about potential challengers, including actress Ashley Judd.
Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon charged that beginning an ad campaign so early "is an unprecedented admission of fear."