- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2014

National Democrats signal they’re putting money back into the race to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, though it’s unclear whether they’ve spotted a real opening or whether it’s a desperation move.

A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee official said internal polling shows previously undecided voters are breaking toward their candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, so the committee will invest $650,000 in ads to boost her chances.

The DSCC stopped airing ads a week ago. But Stephen Voss, a University of Kentucky political science professor, said the race was always tight and their decision to pull advertising reservations was never a signal they’d given up.

“Everything is telling me that McConnell is up between one and two percent points,” Mr. Voss said, adding that Democrats could close that gap on election day because of their ability to turn out their political base voters.

“I don’t understand why people looking at the public information would think that Grimes has lost the race,” Mr. Voss said. “I would not give you anything but even odds on this race.”

A new Courier-Journal/Survey USA poll released Monday shows Mr. McConnell clinging to a 1 percentage point lead over Mrs. Grimes. The average of public polls at RealClearPolitics.com shows Mr. McConnell with a 4.4 percentage-point lead over Mrs. Grimes.

The Rothenberg Political Report says the race “leans Republican” and the University of Virginia Center for Politics says it is “likely” Republican.

The Cook Political Report, though, calls it a “toss up.”

The stakes are high in the race, as Mr. McConnell is poised to replace Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, as majority leader if Republicans net the six seats they need to flip control of the Senate.

Ted Jackson, a veteran Kentucky-based GOP strategist, said polls that show Mrs. Grimes within striking distance of Mr. McConnell are an “aberration” and said that he knows from personal experience that “hope springs eternal” on the campaign trail.

“I have never been in a campaign in my life when you come down the stretch where you can’t convince yourself there is someway you can win,” he said. ‘I feel very confident hat Mitch is going to win by 5 points or more.”

Mrs. Grimes, who has repeatedly declined to say whether she voted for President Obama, is one of Democrats’ prized recruits, and has strong family ties to former President Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — both of whom made recent trips to Kentucky to stump for Mrs. Grimes.

The candidates, parties and their allies have spent tens of millions of dollars on the contest.

Mr. McConnell had raised nearly $27 million and spent about $21.5 million in 2013 and 2014, through Sept. 30, according to Federal Election Commission records.

FEC records show Mrs. Grimes had raised $16.2 million and spent more than $11.9 million.

Outside groups, meanwhile, have spent more than $15.8 million against Mrs. Grimes, and more than $7.8 million against Mr. McConnell, according to Open Secrets.

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