Perhaps a nice set of “We Tried” coffee mugs? Pollsters have mainly ignored Kentucky’s Senate race this cycle, an odd oversight considering the resources Democrats poured into the state to unseat “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell, their Beltway bête noire. According to Open Secrets, Amy McGrath outraised McConnell by $33 million to get to an $88 million war chest, and outspent him by $30 million. Some Senate campaigns never get close to the difference between these two candidates, let alone get to the level of money McGrath got.
So much for money advantages:
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) November 2, 2020
McGrath spent $74 million and she can’t even break 40%? Sheesh. McGrath does a little better in the two other polls taken in the general election cycle, but not by much. A mid-September poll from Quinnipiac also put McConnell up by twelve (53/41), and a Mason-Dixon poll taken three weeks ago gave McConnell a nine-point lead (51/42). McConnell spent $43 million protecting that position, of course, but that looks like money well spent.
Democrats can’t say as much. They spent a lot of money on a race that looked like a loser from the start. Perhaps they hoped that McConnell’s actions in pushing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination through the Senate might erode his support, but it now appears that was a very bad bet — and it cost Democrats more than just cash. It created opportunity costs in other Senate races that might have been better investments.
“Our candidates have gone out there, they’ve made their own cases that the Republican Party remains the party to return America to the heights of prosperity that we were enjoying right before the pandemic hit. That will continue to be the message that we carry through Election Day,” Young said.
“But for the discipline of our candidates, and but for their ability to go ahead and remind voters all that we’ve accomplished … we wouldn’t be in the position where we are right now which is a clear path to keeping the Republican Senate majority amidst a global pandemic,” he added. …
Young acknowledged during the Washington Post interview that the success of Trump and Republicans more broadly largely ride together.
“We regard this as a team effort and that’s why many like Senator McSally have decided to campaign alongside the president,” Young said.
It’s going to be tough to hold, but it’s not impossible. The GOP should win back Doug Jones’ seat in Alabama, which means that Democrats need four other flips. Lindsey Graham and Thom Tillis look like they’re rebounding now, and Arizona looks a bit more friendly to Martha McSally than it did a month ago. Cory Gardner faces a tough fight in blue Colorado, but John James and Jason Lewis are within range of flipping two more Democrat seats in Michigan and Minnesota, too.
Maybe Democrats should have sent money to those states instead of Kentucky. But you know that Cocaine Mitch is a hard habit to break.