Kentucky Senate Race Getting More Attention, More Expensive

Published 02/28 2014 05:04PM

Updated 03/01 2014 09:36AM

We're a little more than eight months until the general election, but the Kentucky Senate race is already heating up, and people are watching. Senator Mitch McConnell is gearing up for what some expect to be a tough challenger.  He'll face Matt Bevin in the May Republican primary.

If Senator McConnell who's seeking a sixth term beats Bevin, he'll face Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Some consider her a very strong opponent, getting the support from  high-profile Democrats like former President Bill Clinton.

Coming soon to a TV or computer screen near you: more ads, more YouTube clips, more attention to Kentucky.

"Never before as far as total dollar amount has anyone seen a race like this," says Todd Inman of the Daviess Co. Republican Party. And, of course, more money.  Millions have reportedly been spent already in the Republican primary between  Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin, all to start another campaign against Democrat Alison Grimes

"After the primary is over with, I think you'll see that Alison Grimes and that onion will get peeled back even more," Inman says. "And the true attack ads will begin on both sides." With more of the same.  All three campaigns have been tossing around accusations.  Inman says this race has folks outside Kentucky paying attention.

"Freedom Works, for example, is a national group that fundraise for themselves. So, they pick up candidates and spread this message. Now they're engaging in Kentucky because they found its a good way to raise money across the U.S," he says.

"You have part of the party that isn't satisfied with the mainstream Republican candidates, and they try to put someone in there that's more conservative," says Brescia University Political Science Professor Daniel Kuthy. He says a reason the race is so attention grabbing is because of McConnell's status.  Kuthy adds the primary can be hard to predict.

"On one hand, it's such a small portion of the population that turns out of vote in them, but also the allegiances are more likely to shift," he says.

But with more ads, money, and attention on the way, more voters could take their own action.

"I think people will be turning off their TV and not answering their phones a lot more often," Inman says.

Inman says he thinks McConnell's saving his real attack ads on Grimes, adding he'll need support of Bevin's voters if he wants to get re-elected.

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