Democrats putting money back into ads for Grimes

Re­verse course as poll shows tight race

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

Na­tional Democrats sig­nal they’re putting money back into the race to un­seat Sen. Mitch McCon­nell, though it’s un­clear whether they’ve spot­ted a real open­ing or whether it’s a des­per­a­tion move.

A Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee of­fi­cial said in­ter­nal polling shows pre­vi­ously un­de­cided vot­ers are break­ing to­ward their can­di­date, Ali­son Lun­der­gan Grimes, so the com­mit­tee will invest $650,000 in ads to boost her chances.

The DSCC stopped air­ing ads a week ago. But Stephen Voss, a Univer­sity of Ken­tucky po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor, said the race was al­ways tight and their decision to pull ad­ver­tis­ing reser­va­tions was never a sig­nal they’d given up.

“Ev­ery­thing is telling me that McCon­nell is up be­tween one and two per­cent points,” Mr. Voss said, adding that Democrats could close that gap on elec­tion day be­cause of their abil­ity to turn out their po­lit­i­cal base vot­ers.

“I don’t un­der­stand why peo­ple look­ing at the pub­lic in­for­ma­tion would think that Grimes has lost the race,” Mr. Voss said. “I would not give you any­thing but even odds on this race.”

A new Courier-Jour­nal/Survey USA poll re­leased Mon­day shows Mr. McCon­nell cling­ing to a 1 per­cent­age point lead over Mrs. Grimes. The av­er­age of pub­lic polls at RealClearPol­i­tics.com shows Mr. McCon­nell with a 4.4 per­cent­age-point lead over Mrs. Grimes.

The Rothenberg Po­lit­i­cal Re­port says the race “leans Repub­li­can” and the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics says it is “likely” Repub­li­can.

The Cook Po­lit­i­cal Re­port, though, calls it a “toss up.”

The stakes are high in the race, as Mr. McCon­nell is poised to re­place Sen. Harry Reid, Ne­vada Demo­crat, as majority leader if Repub­li­cans net the six seats they need to flip con­trol of the Se­nate.

Ted Jack­son, a veteran Ken­tucky-based GOP strate­gist, said polls that show Mrs. Grimes within strik­ing dis­tance of Mr. McCon­nell are an “aber­ra­tion” and said that he knows from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence that “hope springs eter­nal” on the cam­paign trail.

“I have never been in a cam­paign in my life when you come down the stretch where you can’t con­vince your­self there is some­way you can win,” he said. ‘I feel very con­fi­dent hat Mitch is go­ing to win by 5 points or more.”

Mrs. Grimes, who has re­peat­edly de­clined to say whether she voted for Pres­i­dent Obama, is one of Democrats’ prized re­cruits, and has strong fam­ily ties to for­mer Pres­i­dent Clin­ton and his wife, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton — both of whom made re­cent trips to Ken­tucky to stump for Mrs. Grimes.

The can­di­dates, par­ties and their al­lies have spent tens of mil­lions of dol­lars on the contest.

Mr. McCon­nell had raised nearly $27 mil­lion and spent about $21.5 mil­lion in 2013 and 2014, through Sept. 30, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records.

FEC records show Mrs. Grimes had raised $16.2 mil­lion and spent more than $11.9 mil­lion.

Out­side groups, mean­while, have spent more than $15.8 mil­lion against Mrs. Grimes, and more than $7.8 mil­lion against Mr. McCon­nell, ac­cord­ing to Open Se­crets.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Na­tional Democrats will invest $650,000 in ads to boost Ken­tucky Sen­a­to­rial can­di­date Ali­son Lun­der­gan Grimes against Sen. Mitch McCon­nell.

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