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Grime$ beating McConnell at own game?

Grime$ beating McConnell at own game?

by Joe Arnold


Posted on April 16, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 16 at 8:27 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Is Alison Lundergan Grimes beating Mitch McConnell at his own game?

For the second time in three fundraising periods, the Democratic challenger and likely nominee for McConnell's U.S. Senate seat again outperformed the Republican incumbent, himself a prolific fundraiser.

Grimes' campaign reports $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2014.  McConnell reports $2.4 million raised in the same period, also his campaign's best performance thus far.  Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin, meanwhile, reports $1.1 million in the quarter which ended March 31.

"The Secretary of State of Kentucky has outraised the Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate, not once but twice" said a gleeful Jonathan Hurst, Grimes' campaign manager. 

Hurst said Grimes has already surpassed the total fundraising tally of 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway, and nearly matched U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's total from that intense race.

Grimes benefited from a who's who of high-profile benefactors, with fundraisers hosted or headlined by Bill Clinton, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"The very same ultra rich liberal elite who bankrolled Barack Obama into the White House are pulling out all the stops for Alison Lundergan Grimes," said McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore.  "Kentuckians know darn well her entire campaign is funded by those who seek to destroy Kentucky values and our way of life and the only way they can accomplish that is by getting rid of the man responsible for stopping them, Mitch McConnell."

Hurst emphasized grassroots support.  The median contribution is $25 from about 45,000 donors, including donations from each of Kentucky's 120 counties, Hurst said.

"This campaign has yet to spend any money on TV, radio or direct mail," Hurst continues, "and we are beating him in the polls.  He has spent $12 million and has become more unpopular.  None of it is working."

Though McConnell has raised nearly three times more than Grimes, $22.3 million for McConnell and nearly $7.3 million for Grimes, his campaign has burned through most of it. 

McConnell's campaign reports $10.4 million in cash on hand.  Grimes' campaign reports "almost $5 million, equipping us with the resources needed to win this race," Hurst said.

"The campaign is in a strong position as we move into the general election," Hurst said.  "We now have the resources it takes with the great organization to effectively talk about Alison in every medium, to continue to share Alison's bold vision for Kentucky."

A Grimes campaign adviser said they never thought they would outraise McConnell and expressed surprise that McConnell's campaign operation had allowed the Democrat to sit on her war chest.

"They should have made us spend a considerable amount of money," the adviser said.  "Our burn rate is extremely low.  We haven't had to spend to defend her, so we've been able to stockpile."