Murray notes that 21 of 23 incumbent senators who sought re-election in 2012 won, but says "Senator Mitch McConnell is in the political fight of his life" because of some unusual circumstances. "This time Mitch McConnell doesn't have the fundraising advantage he's used to," Murray says, noting Grimes' s strong fundraising and the many groups on both sides that are spending money.
"It's not just the Grimes fund-raising operation that's posing a threat. It's tough to draw a starker contrast between two candidates," she says, noting the huge differences in age and experience. "That contrast has the Grimes campaign betting it can win over women and young voters, and inspire the kind of people who might not normally turn up in the midterms."
So how has McConnell never lost a race in Kentucky? Murray asks his two most prominent foes: Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who lost to him in 1996, and Matt Bevin, the Louisville businessman who is "still smarting" from his defeat by McConnell in this year's Republican primary.
Asked why McConnell has won five times, Beshear replied simply, "Money."
Bevin said of the primary, "I think the number-one reason that he won was because of the seniority and the perception that somehow that is good for Kentucky, that somehow there's still bacon left to be brought home. . . . Everyone wants to throw the bums out, but just the other guy's bum."