National Democrats Halt Investment in Kentucky Senate Race

Image: Democratic Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes And Senate Minority Leader McConnell Locked In Tight Race
Kentucky's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, and Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks at the opening of her Paducah campaign office August 1, 2014 in Paducah, Ken.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped funding one of the most high profile Senate races the country.

The arm of the Democratic Party in charge of electing Senate Democrats has not renewed its media buy in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, suggesting Democrats are allocating their financial resources to other (and more winnable) races. Most recent public polls have shown McConnell ahead in this red state.

In the final weeks of a campaign, tough decisions have to be made as resources become limited and the move indicates that the committee has shifted to other targeted races. The party is backing Democratic candidates in nearly every other state in play, including South Dakota, an unexpected last minute opportunity for the Party, and Georgia, which was announced Tuesday.

DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky downplayed the move, saying, “The race is still absolutely competitive.”

The DSCC has spent more than $2 million on the race, according to a DSCC official who says they will be “monitoring the race for future investments.”

Outside groups supporting both candidates have spent heavily in the race.

The decision comes to light one day after the first and only debate between the two candidates where Grimes once again refused to say if she voted for President Barack Obama.

Responding to the DSCC's decision, Brook Hougesen with the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “Their challengers are tanking, their unpopular incumbents are sinking, and their majority is slipping away."

McConnell has raised a hefty war chest, more than $23 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Grimes also raised a significant amount of money for a Senate race -- $11 million -- but it’s less than half of McConnell’s haul.


- Leigh Ann Caldwell