Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Senate race pre-returns roundup for May 20

Tonight the general election race officially begins, and Sen. Mitch McConnell will be fast out of the starting gate. Two "independent expenditure" groups that support McConnell have $5.2 million in television time through Aug. 27, Sam Youngman reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Most of it, $4.7 million, is from the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, which doesn't have to reveal its donors because it is registered as a group that is not supposed to "run election ads as its primary function, Youngman writes.

Matt Bevin isn't throwing in the towel. He cites a poll for a conservative magazine, Human Events, that gives him 34 percent of the Republican primary vote and McConnell 48 percent, with 18 percent undecided.

McConnell no longer "defines Republicanism" in Kentucky, writes Shane Goldmacher of the National Journal after several days in the state. The first quote is from Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is closer to Sen. Rand Paul: “There’s a change of the guard taking place now in Kentucky.” Goldmacher notes Paul's starring role in McConnell's final TV spot before the primary. "McConnell will have to lean on Paul to reunite the party and bring those disaffected Republicans back into the fold. It is the same role McConnell played four years ago, when he organized a unity rally after Paul’s primary win left the party divided. It is, in other words, exactly the kind of job that falls to a party’s leader."

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