Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee stops running ads in Ky.; Grimes reports $4.4 million on hand

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped running commercials in Kentucky, "a severe blow to Alison Lundergan Grimes in her challenge to Republican leader Mitch McConnell," The Associated Press reports.

"That decision effectively leaves Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on her own and is rightly read as a sign that national Democrats believe the race is effectively over," Chris Cillizza reports for The Washington Post, noting that Roll Call broke the story.

"One Democratic strategist closely following the Kentucky race insists that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is still beatable but that Senate Democrats have to prioritize sitting senators at this point in the election cycle," the Post reports. "Another Democratic consultant tracking the McConnell-Grimes contest largely agreed, noting that pulling money out of Kentucky means 'You can play in Georgia, which is within the margin and the trend lines are going the right way, expand buys in Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana, which are all neck and neck, and then gamble on a wildcard like South Dakota.' . . . The reality of the Kentucky Senate race is that the electorate is simply locked in, polarized to the point where persuadable voters are non-existent."

The committee said in a statement, “The DSCC has now spent more than $2 million in Kentucky and continues to make targeted investments in the ground game while monitoring the race for future investments." The committee didn't start advertising in Kentucky until around the first of October.

"The ground game" is the effort to persuade and turn out Grimes voters through direct contact, mainly by volunteers. The DSCC is spending $60 million on that effort in 10 states, including Kentucky, MSNBC reports, calling it "a turbo-charged, data-driven ground operation that aims to ensure the 2014 electorate looks more like 2012—which saw massive turnout from minorities and young people—than the Republican wave election of 2010."

Still, AP's Adam Beam reports, "The committee's decision in Kentucky was in strong contrast to its activities in other states with pivotal Senate races. Democrats continued to spend freely in Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and several other states as they tried to blunt a Republican drive to gain a we're confident our own substantial resources will be complemented by other investments in the closing days as this airtight race goes down to the wireSenate majority in midterm elections."

The Grimes campaign issued a press release saying it has $4.4 million on hand, "more than any other Democrat in a competitive U.S. Senate race," but spokeswoman Charly Norton said that was its Sept. 30 balance on the quarterly finance report that is due Wednesday. "We're confident our own substantial resources will be complemented by other investments in the closing days as this airtight race goes down to the wire," the release said.

UPDATE: Sen. Mitch McConnell announced that he raised $3.2 million in the third quarter and entered October with $5.2 million in the bank.

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