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Friday, October 21, 2016

Kentucky’s Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes leads Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by 2 percent in the race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a new poll from Democratic pollsters Public Policy Polling (PPP).

The poll was completed before the government shutdown ended on Wednesday as a result of a deal negotiated by McConnell. And it was clear that the shutdown was hurting the minority leader, with 48 percent of those polled saying they were less likely to vote for him because of his support of the shutdown.

PPP says the shutdown is a problem for Republican politicians everywhere, noting that the 60 percent of Kentuckians in opposition is typical of what they are finding in all red states.

Grimes has labeled McConnell “Senator Gridlock” and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is claiming that McConnell’s participation in the resolution of the shutdown “erased the entire narrative of Alison Lundergan Grimes’ entire campaign.”

The Grimes campaign, of course, disagrees.

“Senator McConnell remains the ‘Guardian of Gridlock,’ just as he has for the last 30 years,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in a statement released Thursday. “It is an embarrassment that McConnell waited until the 11th hour to stop the manufactured crisis that he and members of Congress created. It is not heroic for Mitch McConnell to do his job and reopen the government. He may think this is a winning strategy, but Kentuckians now have to pay for Mitch McConnell’s Washington dysfunction.”

The senior senator has still presided over more filibusters than any minority leader in history, even once filibustering his own bill.

PPP has previously found Grimes leading McConnell and notes that the race was looking like a tossup even before the shutdown. Grimes raised more money than McConnell — one of the nation’s most prolific fundraisers — in her first quarter as a candidate.

Before he faces Grimes in the general election, McConnell needs to defeat businessman Matt Bevin, who is attempting to align himself with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) — the Tea Partiers whose call to defund the Affordable Care Act led to the shutdown. Bevin released a video Thursday attacking McConnell, while also distancing himself from the shutdown.

Photo: Patrick Delahanty via Wikimedia Commons

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Siegfried Heydrich

    mmm, mmm! Is that turtle soup I’m smelling?

    • neeceoooo

      A little salt and pepper and don’t forget the crackers.

      • mikem42

        Sherry too.

  • Sand_Cat

    I wish I could believe they won’t re-elect him in the end.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      A lot of that depends on how much his primary battle with Blevins damages him. Blevins is a tenacious fighter. When his family owned factory burned down, he did everything he could to keep his employees going while he worked at getting the business back up and running. He was successful at that, too.

      So, what will happen now? McConnell will be in a bruiser of a battle with someone backed by the Tea Party. Should Blevins prevail, it is likely that many independent voters who had supported McConnell will switch to Grimes (I don’t expect any Republicans to do so, of course). Should McConnell win, depending on how much both financially and emotionally the Blevins battle costs him, we could see a vastly weakened Mitch McConnell entering the general election cycle. If he has to run far enough to the Right to beat Blevins, he COULD lost the support of the Independents in the general election.

  • Tahoeprogressive

    McConnell’s GOP opponent distancing himself from the shutdown while aligning himself with Lee and Cruz? Guess Bevin thinks the people from Kentucky are stupid

  • Bob Fishell

    If Grimes can actually beat the guy, I’ll be delighted. My fear is that he’ll somehow lose his primary, Grimes loses the general, and we get an even more conservative Senate. McConnell is dirt, but he’s a consummate insider who can make deals. Whoever takes his place as minority leader might be even worse.