Midterm Elections 2014: In Kentucky Senate Race, Democratic Group Pulls Funds From McConnell Challenger

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., may have a bulls-eye on his back but challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes is going to have to try to hit it without television advertising help from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The DSCC, which has spent more than $2 million in a bid to unseat McConnell, said Tuesday that it’s putting its resources elsewhere for now, Roll Call reported.

The race in Kentucky is considered a toss-up. The latest Real Clear Politics analysis of polls conducted Sept. 8 through Oct. 7 gives McConnell a 45.5 percent to 42.5 percent edge over Grimes — who in the last week has refused twice to answer point-blank questions about whether she voted for President Barack Obama in 2012. Obama lost Kentucky by 23 points.

Roll Call said the DSCC is focused on trying to keep Democrats from picking up six seats and the Senate majority. The Washington Post said the DSCC has declined to comment on the decision but quotes a Democratic source as saying the decision “is less about the viability of the race, and probably the recognition that, in tough years the priority — in the House and the Senate — is protecting the incumbents. In other words, defense not offense.”

A Democratic consultant told the Post that the DSCC likely would concentrate its efforts on georgia, Arkansas, Alaska, north Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and South Dakota.

In theory, Democrats could still hold onto the Senate without taking away McConnell’s seat, but a win by Grimes would’ve significantly improved the party’s chances. 

Former White House adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that Grimes had not “performed particularly well” in recent weeks, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“We’re at that stage of the campaign when the committees have to make decisions about how to allocate their resources in the final weeks — their finite resources — there are so many difficult races that are winnable for Democrats,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod also criticized Grimes for refusing to say whether she voted for Obama, saying it’s not “an effective strategy” for a candidate to disown her voting record.

Ethan Anderton

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