- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Alison Lundergan Grimes raised more money than Mitch McConnell in the past three months, but the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate still trails the Senate Republican leader by a 2-to-1 margin in available funds.

Grimes‘ campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said the campaign raised $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2014. McConnell’s campaign reported Tuesday it raised $2.4 million in the first quarter.

But for Grimes, Tuesday’s fundraising totals were more about closing the gap between her and a five-term incumbent seeking to take control of the Senate. McConnell’s campaign finished March with about $500,000 less than it had to spend in January. But Grimes campaign added $1.5 million to the bank, giving her close to $5 million available to spend compared to McConnell’s $10.4 million.

Since getting into the race, Grimes has raised $7.2 million compared to McConnell’s $6.9 million.

“We’ve now cut his cash advantage over us to nearly half,” Hurst said in an interview. “We are now in a place where we can define ourselves. We can discuss and talk about the issues that are important to the families of Kentucky.”

Overall, McConnell has raised more than $22 million in his bid to win a sixth term in the Senate while Grimes - who started raising money last year - 7/8has raised $7.3 million.

Allison Moore, McConnell’s campaign press secretary, said Grimes is benefiting from the “ultra rich liberal elite who bankrolled Barack Obama into the White House.”

“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,” Moore said in a written statement.

University of Kentucky Political Science Professor Stephen Voss said it makes sense that McConnell is spending more than Grimes because McConnell has a primary election to worry about.

Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin’s campaign said Tuesday it raised $1.1 million in the first quarter, but did not say how much money it has available to spend. The Republican primary is May 20.

“The amount she is making relative to (McConnell‘s) revenue is a little more newsworthy, but it’s reflective of what we’ve seen in the polls,” Voss said. “The smart money has been looking at the signs and it’s clear this is going to be a very close election and their money is spreading out in a way that confirms they perceive it as a close election.”

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