Saturday, November 1, 2014

As Grimes' odds lengthen, Hillary Clinton rallies supporters; reporters look at spending and lies

Hillary Clinton urged a crowd of 1,200 at Transylvania University in Lexington Saturday to work hard at getting out the vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who "will need every bit of that enthusiasm on Tuesday to have a chance at pulling the upset of the political cycle," Sam Youngman writes for the Lexington Herald-Leader, noting political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg's change in rating for the race, to "Republican favored" from "lean Republican." (Herald-Leader photo)

Earlier in the day, Clinton and Grimes rallied at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights. "This redundantly named city is a wonderfully symbolic place for the starting point of a campaign's final weekend," The Courier-Journal's James R. Carroll writes. If Grimes upsets Sen. Mitch McConnell, "She would be launched into the political heights in Kentucky and in Washington."

On the other hand, "McConnell's re-election, all by itself, would cement his place as one of Kentucky's most important political figures and extend his record as the commonwealth's longest-serving senator," Carroll writes. "McConnell at the very least would remain the leader of the Senate Republicans, a position that has given the Kentuckian the power to frustrate and derail many Obama initiatives. But if the Republicans do well in other states on Tuesday, McConnell would occupy that highest spot on Highland Heights, as Senate majority leader."

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seems to think McConnell is going to win re-election, Niels Lesniewski reports for Roll Call. He told Iowa liberal activists in a phone call that “What [Republican nominee] Joni Ernst would mean, coming to the United States Senate, is that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the Senate, someone who agrees with her on virtually everything,” Reid said.

In his Sunday column, The C-J's Joseph Gerth says $80 million will be spent on the race. "With all due respect to my friends in the television industry whose employers saw this election as a huge cash cow, it's a ridiculous amount of money that could have been spent in much more noble pursuits than making voters think the worst of one's opponent," Gerth writes, giving some examples, ending with: "It's $50 for every vote that is expected to be cast next week." He also says, "The Center for Responsive Politics reckons that $78 million had been spent by the middle of last week and that doesn't count the millions of dollars in 'issue' ads that are intended to influence the race but aren't counted in the total because they don't expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate. It will be among the most expensive U.S. Senate races in U.S. history and it will happen in one of the nation's poorest states."

John Cheves of the Herald-Leader picks "the seven biggest whoppers" of the race: McConnell's "Kynect is just a website;" Grimes's repeated claim that McConnell got rich from office; the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition's claim that Grimes supported "Obama's amnesty plan;" both sides' claims that the other would wreck Medicare; and both sides' claim that the other hates coal.

Carroll, Gerth and C-J colleague Tom Loftus report on the day's events and look forward to the end of the race: "Grimes will keep up with the blistering pace with a total of 23 stops in 21 counties between Saturday and Monday. The 72-year-old McConnell, on the other hand, appears to be coasting, with only 11 stops in 10 counties over that span — with most of those stops coming Monday when Sen. Rand Paul joins him on the trail."

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