A staffer from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that they are essentially giving up on Alison Lundergan Grimes for her United States Senate campaign to represent Kentucky. The DSCC is no longer on the air with television ads and has not reserved any air time for the remaining three weeks of the campaign. They explained:
“The DSCC has now spent more than 2 million in Kentucky and continues to make targeted investments in the ground game while monitoring the race for future investments, but is currently not on the air in the state.”
This is devastating news for not only Grimes, but the national Democratic Party. The Democrats needed to challenge a few Republican-held seats in order to maintain control of the United States Senate this election cycle. One of the states they targeted early on was Kentucky – due to Mitch McConnell’s low approval ratings and the state’s history of electing Democrats at the state-level.
They recruited Grimes, a one-term Kentucky Secretary of State and daughter of a former party chairman. While she had little political experience, party insiders were banking on her youth (mid-30s), clean slate (she took little, if any, political positions prior to her campaign announcement), and her father’s connections.
Grimes’ message has failed to resonate with voters. Polls from several different organizations found McConnell with a slight, but consistent lead throughout the year. She has made several gaffes during the campaign trail. Earlier this year, she posted on twitter a picture of her shooting without wearing eye and ear protections, two common-sense gun safety rules. She thought that Israel’s Iron Dome protected tunnels in Gaza.
Most notably, she refused to answer the question of whether or not she voted for President Obama in 2012. An August Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey found that Obama’s approval-disapproval spread was 32 percent to 63 percent. However, Democrats in other red states had the same dilemma, yet still admitted they voted for Obama. NBC news correspondent Chuck Todd was brutally honest with his analysis of the situation on MSNBC:
“Can Kentuckyians expect her to cast a tough vote on anything? Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything? You want to be a U.S. Senator? If you can’t say — if you can’t find a way to stand behind your party’s president, you can disagree with him but can’t answer that basic question and come across looking ridiculous. I think she disqualified herself.”
Former Obama campaign aide David Axelrod was not at all surprised that national Democrats have surrendered the race, saying she did “not performed particularly well in the last few weeks.” The left-leaning New Republic trashed her in a new op-ed with the scathing headline – “Grimes is running the worst senate campaign of the year.” Ouch.
So what do the political forecasters think of McConnell’s chance of winning this election?
-Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight: 74 percent chance of winning
So McConnell will likely get re-elected to his sixth term as a U.S. Senator. Even better for him – those same forecasts all agree now that Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate this fall, giving McConnell a promotion to U.S. Senate Majority Leader and effectively ending Harry Reid’s highly controversial eight-year tenure in that role.Follow Matt on Twitter: @mattyappspsu