Mitch McConnell's Tight Kentucky Senate Race Might Hinge on Turnout

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 01:47 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes' chances of upsetting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election bid may have brightened with the release of new polling data and a pledge from former President Bill Clinton to campaign on her behalf.

A July 19 Human Events/Gravis poll of 1,054 registered Kentucky voters found McConnell running even at 45 percent with Grimes.

"With only 10 percent of the voters undecided, it is hard to see either candidate breaking out. It really looks like it will be close through to the end with the decision turning on turnout," Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing told Human Events.

Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the McConnell campaign, told the paper that findings from a June poll they conducted of 807 likely voters found McConnell leading Grimes 49 percent to 42 percent.

She said McConnell is "well positioned for re-election in Kentucky, and every day his campaign is growing stronger."

Grimes' campaign has received a commitment from Clinton to attend an Aug. 6 fundraiser, according to The Hill.

Clinton appeared at a fundraiser in February 2013 and helped to raise more than $600,000 for Grimes’ campaign, reports The Hill. Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, helped manage Bill Clinton's Kentucky campaigns.

In June, Grimes received a visit from Democratic progressive Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who attacked McConnell's role in blocking her bill that would temporarily lower the interest rate on federal Stafford loans. She told one audience that the race was about "a man who stood up and filibustered the student loan bill," according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Graves' Kaplan did note that the issue of thousands of Central American illegal immigrants crossing the border could play a role in the campaign as 72 percent of Kentucky voters are opposed brining the illegal immigrants to the state.

McConnell has a 1.5-point lead, according to an average of recent polls posted on RealClearPolitics, which lists the race as a "toss-up."

Grimes' team, which has campaigned aggressively, released a new web ad criticizing McConnell's record on sending jobs to China.

In the second-quarter fundraising period, Grimes established a record by bringing in $4 million as of June 30 and McConnell, for his part, also set a personal record, raising $3.1 million. McConnell also set a new record for total money raised in a Kentucky campaign at $25 million The candidates could spend more than $100 million combined on the race, according to a report in The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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