FRANKFORT — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign said Tuesday she raised more money in the previous quarter than incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Grimes’ campaign announced it raised $2.5 million, surpassing the nearly $2.3 million raised by McConnell during the same 90-days. When McConnell’s campaign released its third-quarter total last week, campaign manager Jesse Benton called it McConnell’s strongest fundraising quarter ever.
However, Grimes remains far behind the five-term Republican Senate minority leader who has raised $17.7 million total for the election cycle and has $10 million cash on hand. Grimes will have to improve on her fundraising in coming quarters if she is to come close to matching what McConnell already has.
Outside groups also have already weighed in on both sides with advertising and are likely to pump millions more into a race which will be the most watched in the country.
Still, Grimes’ total for the first quarter since she became a declared candidate probably reached the minimum threshold many political pundits believed Grimes needed in order to be taken seriously.
McConnell also must pay heed to a tea party-backed primary challenger, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, who last week announced he had raised $822,000 for the quarter, including $600,000 of his own money.
Grimes has a primary challenger, University of Louisville professor Greg Leichty, but he isn’t seen as a credible threat to her nomination.
Predictably, both the Grimes and McConnell campaigns tried to put their spin on Grimes’ report.
Grimes political consultant Jonathan Hurst said the amount exceeds any Democratic Senate candidate in the current election cycle except for New Jersey Democrat Corey Booker, who is on a special election ballot next week.
“There isn’t a Senate candidate in the country that in only 11 weeks has built the campaign infrastructure and raised the numbers we have,” Hurst said. Grimes didn’t declare her candidacy until July.