Monday, August 11, 2014

Roundup: Post analyst says GOP likelier to gain Senate, but McConnell race Dems' top pickup chance

Rounding up the weekend coverage and commentary, and more recent items:
  • Mitch McConnell's main positive argument for his re-election, that he would become Senate majority leader, gets a boost from Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post, who writes that a Republican takeover is now "a better than 50-50 proposition." But he also writes that the Kentucky race, not an open seat in Georgia, "seems the better opportunity" for Democrats to take a Republican seat, given "McConnell’s middling poll numbers and the able campaign being run by state Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Polling gives McConnell a slight edge, but even his most ardent supporters acknowledge that his vote ceiling is somewhere between 51 and 52 percent." But he said a McConnell loss "looks possible — but not probable — at the moment."
  • In his fortnightly column in The Courier-Journal, Al Cross (publisher of this blog) analyzes the week that began with the Fancy Farm Picnic, saying "Grimes needed a win at Fancy Farm, and she got it;" looks at her ad on women's issues and McConnell's response ad, featuring his wife, Elaine Chao; notes stories that could turn the race more personal; and ends with the candidates' battle for the East Kentucky Coal Field, where the percentage of uninsured people has dropped to record low levels but "Grimes still seems scared to come close to anything associated with Obama, much less Obamacare."
  • The candidates' Eastern Kentucky crowds looked identical but had sharply divergent views, writes Ronnie Ellis of CNHI News Service: Grimes supporters "see an American society built by the middle class, a middle class they believe should always be expanding. But they see that dream faltering as the rules now seem stacked against them by rich and malevolent powers which get richer and richer at the expense of hard-working families whose incomes are shrinking. They see the coal economy by which many escaped poverty, and many more hope to, crumbling beneath them and their region." McConnell backers "are just as alarmed by the demise of coal in Eastern Kentucky. . . . To these folks, outside forces, alien, socialist forces, people who don’t like us, are malevolently working to destroy our way of life."
  • Catching up with the weekly papers: The Record of Leitchfield reported last week that Grimes, on her way to Fancy Farm, stopped at Rough River Dam State Resort Park and got a little rough, telling supporters she was wearing "butt-kicking boots—the boots I’m gonna wear to kick Mitch McConnell’s butt out of his Senate seat."

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