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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23:  Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) answers reporters' questions during a brief news conference outside the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol July 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. McConnell did not take any quesitons about the announcement by Tea Party activist Ted Blevin that he will challenge McConnell in the 2014 GOP primary in Kentucky.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ouch!  I hope he's right about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY):

Christian Whiton, a former State Department adviser under President George W. Bush, predicted he'll lose his seat. (In recent years, Whiton has written a book about foreign policy and repeatedly appeared in conservative media.) - TPM, 2/11/14
Things haven't been going well for McConnell lately.  Former Senator Jim DeMint's (R. SC) keeps on aiming to take out Mitch:

The Senate Conservatives Fund, an outside group working to unseat some Republican incumbents, is out today with a new web ad hitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Web commercial is titled “Bully” and draws parallels between the Kentucky Republican and last year’s IRS scandal, in which tea party and conservative groups were given extra scrutiny on their tax-exempt applications, saying he too is “bullying” conservatives.

The ad comes just one day after McConnell introduced legislation that would prevent the IRS from enacting regulations that would restrict the way some of these groups, from both sides of the aisle, engage in political activity.

The SCF is actively working to elect McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin. SCF says it is putting $100,000 behind the Web ad and that it is also going to send it to its email list of 1 million across the country. - ABC News, 2/12/14

And Mitch's sidekick isn't making things easier for him:

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. As the Obama era nears its final midterm elections, the campaign to succeed him has already begun: Prospective candidates on both sides have been quietly courting donors, taking steps to build an organization and making scouting trips to early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The official starting line, however, is likely a year away.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is joining forces on an anti-NSA effort with a tea party group pushing to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Paul and FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe appeared together at a news conference Wednesday to announce a class action lawsuit against the National Security Agency, according to a press advisory. FreedomWorks has endorsed McConnell's conservative challenger, Matt Bevin, in the Republican primary this year, slamming the Senate GOP leader as a "do-nothing incumbent."

McConnell has declared war on outside right-wing groups seeking to upend the Republican establishment. There is deep animosity between the two camps. Kibbe said this week that Republican leaders were steering donors away from his organization. Paul is supporting McConnell for re-election, although he hasn't exactly been enthusiastic about it. - TPM, 2/12/14

FYI, Paul and FreedomWorks tapped failed gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinnelii (R. VA) to be their lead counsel.  But then again, things aren't going well for McConnell's Tea Party opponent either:

The tea party-backed Republican in Kentucky's Senate race often rebukes Sen. Mitch McConnell for supporting the 2008 federal bailout of struggling banks.

But the challenger, Matt Bevin, had praised the bailout in financial documents filed in October 2008.

As president of Veracity Funds, Bevin signed a report to investors that praised the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The report, first reported by Politico, said TARP should not be called a bailout.

Bevin often criticizes McConnell for backing the TARP legislation. - Huffington Post, 2/11/14

Yet McConnell's lead over Bevin is starting to shrink:

Only days after the Bluegrass Poll showed him trailing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by 26 points in Kentucky’s GOP primary, Bevin on Monday promised Kentucky voters they would be hearing more from him — and getting to know him better — in the coming weeks.

Polls last year showed him 50 and 40 percentage points down against the veteran senator, he said in an interview, so he is making progress.

“The trend is my friend,” said Bevin, a Louisville businessman, who faces McConnell in the May 20 primary. - Louisville Courir-Journal, 2/10/14

Down in the polls, hounded by right-wing groups and a Tea Party challenger, the Kentucky GOP's latest attempt to distract voters and help McConnell is by going after Alison Lundergan Grimes' (D. KY) donors:

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate hoping to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), is being criticized by Kentucky's Republican Party over a donation she received from filmmaker Woody Allen.

Grimes received a $500 contribution from Allen on Sept. 26, Politico reports.

Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, who gave her first public account of abuse in an open letter printed in the New York Times on Feb. 1. Allen responded with his own piece in the Times, denying the claims.

Kelsey Cooper, spokeswoman for the Kentucky GOP, condemned Grimes for associating with Allen.

"It's just another instance of someone accused of mistreating women publicly supporting her campaign," Cooper said, according to WFPL.

Cooper said the state's GOP is also asking Grimes to return a donation from former Kentucky state Rep. John Arnold (D), who resigned in September amid sexual harassment allegations. - Huffington Post, 2/10/14

FYI, Woody Allen isn't the only celebrity who wants to see McConnell gone:

The U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes continued to get big contributions from the entertainment world in the last three months 0f 2013.

Actor Tom Hanks, producer Norman Lear, director Michael Mann, actress Rita Wilson, Warner Brothers Chairman Barry Meyer and actress Ann Moss were among the Californians who contributed $5,200 to Grimes’ campaign during the quarter.

Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, announced last week  that she had raised more than $2 million during the quarter. But the report listing the names of large contributors was not posted on the Federal Election Commission’s website until Thursday morning.
It shows the continued spport of Hollywood reflected in the first campaign finance report the Grimes campaign filed three months ago.

Grimes reported net contributions of just over $2 million  during the period and an ending balance of $3.3 million on hand as of Dec. 31. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 2/8/14

But I would rather vote for a candidate backed by Hollywood stars than the candidate backed by this guy:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon is backing the re-election of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who would be in line to lead the Senate if he’s re-elected on Nov. 4 and his party makes a net gain of six seats.

Dimon gave $2,500 to McConnell’s campaign on Dec. 17, according to a filing with the Senate public records office in Washington. Dimon has a history of donating to Democratic and Republican officeholders, underscoring the importance of nurturing bipartisan alliances amid divided government in Washington.

McConnell’s donors in last year’s fourth quarter included General Electric Co. (GE:US) CEO Jeffrey Immelt, American Bankers Association CEO Frank Keating, Baupost Group LLC president Seth Klarman and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour. Billionaire Harold Simmons, the former chairman of Contran Corp., donated to McConnell’s campaign 12 days before his death on Dec. 28. - Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/4/14

But Grimes' campaign believes that raising the minimum wage will be the issue that catapults her to victory:

The National Women’s Law Center released a new state-by-state study today on women and the minimum wage, and it calculates that over 250,000 women would get a raise in Kentucky if the minimum wage is raised.

Mitch McConnell opposes raising the minimum wage. His Dem opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, supports raising it. And the Grimes campaign is seizing on the data in hopes of steering the campaign towards a discussion of wages and pay equity — turf Dems hope will favor them in an otherwise hostile political climate, particularly in red states.

In an interview, Grimes pollster Mark Mellman noted that the minimum wage would be key to appealing to a crucial demographic — downscale women.

“The minimum wage affects a lot of people — particularly a lot of women — in Kentucky,” Mellman said. “Women are the majority of the vote in Kentucky. As a group, they are more hostile to Mitch McConnell than men are. They are a critically important base for any Democrat, particularly a female Democrat. Downscale voters in these states tend to be very important swing voters — particularly downscale women.”

McConnell’s opposition to a minimum wage hike, Mellman said, “communicates something larger — that he’s not interested in economic opportunity for the middle class or those struggling to join it.” - Washington Post, 2/11/14

Lets keep up the momentum and help Grimes win in November.  Click here to donate or get involved with her campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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