Kentucky Senate Race 2014: ABC News' '14 For 14'

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan-Grimes

ABC News' "14 For 14" project is documenting 14 races that matter between now and November. This page will be updated throughout the year. See the full list of 2014 midterm election contests the ABC News political team is tracking.

THE PLAYERS

Sen. Mitch McConnell (Incumbent)
Republican
Served as a U.S. Senator from Kentucky since 1984; served as Senate Minority Leader since 2007.
Age: 72 (born: February 20, 1942)

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Democrat
Served as Kentucky’s Secretary of State since 2012.
Age: 35 (November 23, 1978)

THE STAKES

No doubt about it: The Kentucky Senate race will be the most watched 2014 contest of them all, and the stakes could not be higher. It is a rare occurrence that a congressional leader in the House or Senate is ousted, but with McConnell’s favorability ratings in the state low, Democrats see the opportunity of a lifetime in the Bluegrass State. While McConnell was mired in his primary, Grimes was able to fundraise without spending that much money and stay out of their fight. That seems like all good news for Grimes, but McConnell has been fighting a ferocious battle for months and now has just begun to turn his fire on Grimes, and may be more battle ready. For Democrats, a Grimes win would represent a vindication of their strategy to try to lay all the blame for Washington, DC dysfunction at McConnell’s feet, as well as portraying him as the ultimate “Washington insider.” It will be difficult, if not impossible, to topple the senate minority leader, but Democrats see the numbers and are buoyed. McConnell won’t go down without a fight like we’ve never seen before, and this will be the brawl of 2014.

THE OUTLOOK

Polling shows a single digit race between Grimes and McConnell, statistically locked between the two. McConnell is still a proven fundraiser and an aggressive, some may say ruthless, campaigner. He has raised over $21 million, spending over $11 million to not only beat his primary opponent Matt Bevin, but to crush him. He still has significantly outraised Grimes who has raised just over $8 million and spent over $3 million. Of course she had no viable primary opponent. Both campaign committees consider this one of their most critical races, and they have been sending out opposition research, attack videos, and releases on behalf of their respective sides for months. Now that the general election is here, McConnell and Grimes are eagerly trying to reach out to those swing voters that will be crucial to victory. On primary night, McConnell praised Bevin and said the “tough race is over” urging the party to now “unite.” Grimes released her second television ad promising to not be Barack Obama’s candidate, as McConnell has attacked her for, but to “put partisanship aside” and “work with both Democrats and Republicans to do what’s right for Kentucky.” Grimes even wrote a letter to Bevin voters and independent voters a few days after the primary promising to be a “fresh, independent voice in Washington that puts Kentucky and its people first – not Washington insiders.”

ABC NEWS RATING

Lean Republican

KEY DATES

November 4, 2014: General election

IN THE NEWS

McConnell Challenger, Matt Bevin, Scoffs at Chamber of Commerce Ad

Alison Lundergan Grimes Gets Harsh Welcome To Kentucky Senate Race From McConnell Campaign

Alison Lundergan Grimes To Challenge Mitch McConnell For U.S. Senate In Kentucky

Mitch McConnell’s Big Win Gives Clues to Democratic Opponent

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell Crushes Tea Party Challenger Matt Bevin

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