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allison lundergan gimes ahead

Allison Grimes

The news that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee evidently isn’t going to buy any more TV ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes has sent the celebrity pundits scurrying to their word processors to compose obituaries for Team Switch.

“Democrats are pulling out of the Kentucky Senate race. Here’s why that’s important,” trumpeted a headline on “The Fix,” Chris Cillizza’s Washington Post column (at least it was the headline on the Internet).

“The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped its TV advertising for the final three weeks in the Kentucky Senate race,” Cillizza wrote. “That decision effectively leaves Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on her own and is rightly read as a sign that national Democrats believe the race is effectively over.”

Grimes, the Democrat who is after Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job, was up 46-44 over the senate majority leader wannabe in the last Bluegrass Poll. So Cillizza’s musing made me think of what Mark Twain supposedly said about reports of his death being more than a tad exaggerated.

Anyway, after reading Cillizza’s musing, this old reporter sought comment from Charly Norton, Grimes’s press secretary, I emailed her. “We remain confident and poised to win,” she emailed right back.

Campaign flaks get paid to say things like that.

The election will boil down to turnout. Team Switch is confident they have built a mega-horsepower statewide grassroots, get-out-the-vote organization that’s hitting on all eight cylinders.

Go ahead and call it home cooking, but here's how a Kentucky Democratic party pro sizes it up:

  • A DSCC “pullout” is not quite right. The DSCC isn’t -- for now anyway – buying ads beyond what the group already paid for. But the DSCC’s effort in the state is more than buying TV ads.
  • The election will boil down to turnout. Team Switch is confident they have built a mega-horsepower statewide grassroots, get-out-the-vote organization that’s hitting on all eight cylinders.
  • Team Switch has $4.4 million in cash on hand and posted record-breaking fundraising totals on Tuesday: a cool $4.9 million.
  • Last – maybe first – is that Bluegrass Poll. Team Switch is especially happy with Grimes’s numbers among independents.

True confession time: I’m rooting for Team Switch. Nonetheless, I generally don’t bet on politics or sporting events and I leave the prognosticating to media stars like Cillizza.

But before golden October declines into somber November and election day, I would wager on a couple of things:

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  • Team Mitch doesn’t think their guy has the election in the jug.
  • Whichever team wins, the vote will be uncomfortable close.

Norton’s rejoinder to the big league pundits reminds me of the immortal Bluto Blutarsky who famously declared: “Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is!’” (If you don’t know Bluto, Google him.)

Anyway, right now Team Switch is still on the field and clinging to a two point lead in one of the most highly regarded polls in Kentucky. She was four points down in the previous Bluegrass poll.

Admittedly, I don’t think Grimes helped herself by not revealing who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. At her TV debate with McConnell, she still wouldn’t say. I wish she had all along.

berry craig

Yet the fact that she he hasn’t – and apparently won’t -- doesn’t seem to be hurting her with the base, or at least among union families like mine, who are a big chunk of her base.

This lifelong Kentuckian who doesn’t think “liberal” is a dirty word and who voted for Obama both times he ran isn’t holding Grimes’s non-disclosure against her. None of my union buddies who voted for Obama are either.

Also, I didn’t detect any flagging ardor on Grimes’ part in her war of words with the captain of Team Mitch. It could be argued convincingly that she won on points.

Too, big-name Democrats are still heading to Kentucky to stump for her. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio came the other day.

Both Clintons have been here, Hillary is supposed to be back tonight. I hear Bill is due back next week.

No matter what the punditocracy is pontificating, to the captain and the rest of Team Switch I say, “Illegitimi non carborundum, y’all.” You can Google that one, too.

Berry Craig

Berry Craig