So what’s going on with Cocaine Mitch’s reelection battle in Kentucky now that we’re finally nearing the end of this endless grind? His race against Democrat Amy McGrath has certainly been tighter than expected, particularly over the summer, but at this point, the RCP polling average has McConnell coasting over the finish line with a lead of somewhere between nine and twelve points. Kentucky Democrats haven’t given up the ship yet, however, and they’re rolling out a new strategy in the final days. If they can’t convince enough voters to support McGrath and defeat Midnight Mitch directly, they’ll try to boost the fortunes of a third-party candidate and see if they can drain some votes away from McConnell that way. (Free Beacon)
A liberal PAC is spending more than $1 million to bolster Kentucky’s Libertarian Party nominee in a last-ditch attempt to funnel votes away from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.).
Ditch Mitch Fund, an anti-McConnell PAC founded by national liberal operatives, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from far-left donors to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), campaign-finance disclosures show. The money has helped the group spend more than $10 million on ads slamming McConnell and championing Democratic nominee Amy McGrath. But in the closing days of the campaign, Ditch Mitch Fund is instead spending big to sing the praises of Libertarian candidate Brad Barron.
As of the last Mason-Dixon poll, Libertarian candidate Brad Barron was polling at all of 4%. The guy is barely an afterthought in that race. Democrats realize that they haven’t been able to sell McGrath to enough voters to take down the Apex Predator of Politics, so they’re scrambling to try something else. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since that same poll shows McGrath’s favorable to unfavorable numbers are stuck at 32/45 while McConnell is floating at his usual level of 44/43.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a third-party candidate has been fluffed up to try to split the vote in a relatively close election, but it’s certainly one of the most blatant. The PAC that’s funding this effort has no interest in the Libertarian Party nor its politics. They exist for only one reason, as the name implies. They want to get Mitch McConnell out of office at any cost. If they could have beaten him by running a ham sandwich, Kentucky residents would be watching ham sandwich advertisements all day, every day. But with only one week to go, it doesn’t seem like there are that many persuadable voters left out there, to say nothing of those who might suddenly be convinced to vote for an off-brand candidate they’ve never heard of until this week.
One reason this story should be kept in mind, however, is that we’re probably going to be seeing a lot more of this if more states adopt so-called “ranked-choice voting” in the coming years as Maine recently did. Under that system, shenanigans such as this will become the rule of the day. If you can sell voters on a hopeless, third-party candidate and hope that your candidate will be their second choice, you could really throw off the actual vote. McConnell won’t need to worry about that effect in Kentucky, but others will in the future.