Cheat Sheet to 2014 GOP Senate Races: Kentucky and McConnell

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Midterm elections in the Senate are particularly vital this year, with so many important items up for legislative review and after so much struggle and stagnation in the last year with Congress split as it is. The fight for the Senate’s majority has, as of late, been looking more promising for the GOP. Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy, senior editor, even upped her projection for the Senate race from a 25 percent chance of Republicans taking the Senate majority to a 50 percent chance, as of Sunday.

“We are weighting environment much higher — the president’s approval ratings, the generic congressional ballot, just basically what Americans are thinking. The Republicans have been able to expand their own playing field, putting races on the map that weren’t there,” she said in an interview with Bloomberg. Even so, victories in some states will be of particular import to the GOP’s chances.

One such state looks likely to be Kentucky; so lets take a look at the potential candidates, the issues, funding sources, and what the polls have to say for this increasingly purple state.

While Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is one name in Kentucky, he isn’t the only one by any means. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is also looking to give him a major run for his money — likely through the use of her own set of strong funding. Smaller names in the race include Matt Bevin (R), Roger Thoney (R), and Victor Privett (D), according to Open Secrets Center for Responsive Politics. This week saw Grimes announce that in the first three months of 2014 she had raised more funds than McConnell. McConnell for his part pulled in 80 percent of his registered contributions, according to The Wall Street Journal, from outside sources at $9.3 million, and with $4.5 million from outside advocacy groups and PACs.

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