- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell put himself a step closer to becoming the chamber’s majority leader, easily turning back a challenge by Allison Lundergan Grimes in a race Democrats had desperately wanted to win.

Networks called the race for Mr. McConnell just after the final polls closed at 7 p.m. EST.

Democrats had hoped that Mrs. Grimes — one of their top two recruits of the 2014 campaign season — could put a serious dent in the GOP’s chances of flipping control of the Senate by ending Mr. McConnell’s nearly 30-year-career in Congress.

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McConnell’s win is another argument for partisanship over popularity,” said Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “Kentucky does not love its senior senator but it dislikes Obama and national Democrats more. We always favored McConnell to win because he was a Republican senator running in a Republican state in a Republican year, and that was enough.”

Mr. McConnell had warned that Mrs. Grimes would be a rubber stamp for the Obama administration, which he cast as anti-coal.

The Republican reminded voters that if the GOP won a majority he was poised to become Senate Majority Leader - giving Kentucky one of the most powerful seats in Washington.

Mr. McConnell benefited from the support of fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite who is laying the groundwork for a White House run in 2016.

Mr. McConnell and Mr. Paul traveled together on the final day of the campaign.

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