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United States Senate elections in Kentucky, 2014

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2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Kentucky

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 20, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Mitch McConnell Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Mitch McConnell Republican Party
Mitch McConnell.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Likely R[2]

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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Kentucky.png
Voters in Kentucky will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 4, 2014 elections.

Kentucky is one of 12 states to use a strictly closed primary process, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.[3][4][5]

The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by Mitch McConnell (R). McConnell was first elected in 1984.

Kentucky is a solidly Republican state.[6]


Note: Prior to the signature filing deadline, candidates will be added when Ballotpedia writers come across declared candidates. If you see a name of a candidate who is missing, please email us and we will add that name. As the election draws closer, more information will be added to this page.

Potential candidates

Declined to run

Race background

In 2008, Mitch McConnell won re-election to a fifth term and became Kentucky's longest serving senator.[17] McConnell spent approximately $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.[17]

McConnell served as the Republican Party Whip from 2005 to 2007, before he took on the role of Senate Minority Leader in 2007.[18]

Low approval ratings and a primary challenge from tea-party backed Matt Bevin make McConell a vulnerable incumbent in 2014.[19] McConnell was also troubled by the lack of backing from national GOP candidates.[20]

Since Republicans were able to pick up the necessary six seats for a majority in 2014, McConnell is likely to take over as the new Senate Majority Leader.


Possible General Election match-up
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Mitch McConnell (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
April 4-7, 2013
Public Policy Polling
May 23-34, 2013
Wenzel Strategies
June 1-2, 2013
AVERAGES 42% 45.67% 12.67% +/-4.53 743.67
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was tied with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes according to a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Senate Majority PAC, the super PAC backing Democratic Senate candidates. The poll found McConnell and Grimes tied at 45 percent each.[21][22]

A poll from Wenzel Strategies conducted June 1-2, 2013 polled 623 people and found Mitch McConnell (R) ahead of Secretary of State Grimes 47 percent to 40 percent. McConnell beat former Miss America Heather French Henry 45 percent to 40 percent and beat Louisville environmental lawyer Tom Fitzgerald 46 percent to 29 percent according to the poll.[23][24]

Campaign donors

Incumbent Mitch McConnell raised $2.2 million in the second quarter of 2013, growing his 2014 campaign account to $9.6 million, as of July 11, 2013.[25][26]


McConnell's campaign released a new ad pointing to a series of “dirty” attacks by Democratic outside groups on April 18th, 2013 titled "How Dirty"

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership released an ad run on June 26, "Rubber Stamp"

On April 18, 2013, McConnell's campaign released a new ad pointing to a series of “dirty” attacks by Democratic outside groups.[27] It’s the second time McConnell’s campaign has launched an ad playing up the victim angle.[27] After the Progress Kentucky super PAC got in trouble for racially insensitive tweets about McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, his campaign launched another ad featuring Chao.[27]

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC backing Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, launched a round of TV ads on June 25, 2013 aimed at dissuading Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes from entering the race.[28][29] Grimes announced her candidacy on July 1, 2013.[30]

In a Web video posted on July 2, 2013, McConnell's campaign took aim at Grimes by making her name the punchline of the video. The nearly two-minute video asks, "What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?"

McConnell's video responds to its own question with these zingers: "Not ready for prime time," "Sticks to the party line," and "Left wing mime."[31]

The video is a reminder of Grimes' own ad from her successful 2011 race in Kentucky that featured her two grandmothers, Elsie Case and Thelma Lundergan McHugh.[31] In that ad, the grandmas are seen typing away at laptops trying to come up with ads for the candidate. They introduce Grimes by her full name and joked, "It's a long name." At the end of the 2011 ad, Case — Grimes' maternal grandmother — asks, "What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?"[31]

McConnell's mocking ad, "What Rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?"

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership ad, "Whatever"

It was announced on July 19, 2013 that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made an online ad buy against McConnell.[26] The ads aimed at hitting McConnell as the “guardian of gridlock,” pointing to the Senate GOP’s frequent filibuster threats.[26]

The same day pro-McConnell Super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership launched a new ad featuring a clip of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) saying she agrees with the national Democratic Party’s platform.[26]


Gov. Steve Beshear pledged his support for Alison Lundergan Grimes on July 9, 2013. In a press conference he stated, “I’m going to support Alison Lundergan Grimes for the U.S. Senate in every way that I can and whatever they want me to do, I’m going to be there to do. It is time to bring Mitch McConnell home. You know, after 30 years of obstruction and 30 years of do-nothing in the United States Senate, we need somebody up there that is going to represent Kentucky.”[32]

Election history


On November 2, 2010, Rand Paul won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jack Conway (D) and Billy Ray Wilson (Write-In) in the general election.[33]

U.S. Senate General Election, Kentucky, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRand Paul 55.7% 755,706
     Democratic Jack Conway 44.2% 600,052
     Independent Billy Ray Wilson 0% 338
Total Votes 1,356,096


On November 4, 2008, Mitch McConnell won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Bruce Lunsford (D) in the general election.[34]

U.S. Senate General Election, Kentucky, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMitch McConnell Incumbent 53% 953,816
     Democratic Bruce Lunsford 47% 847,005
Total Votes 1,800,821

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 SENATE RACE RATINGS FOR JULY 18, 2014," accessed August 5, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 Senate Races," accessed August 5, 2014
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  4. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  5. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  6. Five Thirty Eight "Re-Election Is Likely for McConnell, but Not Guaranteed" Accessed July 8, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Public Policy Polling, "McConnell remains extremely unpopular," April 9, 2013
  8. WHAS "Grimes to challenge McConnell in 2014" Accessed July 1, 2013
  9. WFPL "Noise and Notes: Bennie J. Smith's Long Shot Quest to Retire Mitch McConnell" Accessed July 5, 2013
  10. Bennie J. Smith for U.S. Senate "Info" Accessed July 3, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 WDRB "Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announces Senate run" Accessed July 3, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 ABC News "Potential McConnell Challenger to Announce Senate Intentions" Accessed July 1, 2013
  13. cn|2 "Party of one? Republican Gurley L. Martin's 90th birthday plans include filing to challenge McConnell" Accessed July 5, 2013
  14. ABC News "Former Miss America May Take On Mitch McConnell" Accessed July 1, 2013
  15. The News Enterprise "Guthrie, Parrett not interested in challenging McConnell in 2014" Accessed July 5, 2013
  16. Politico "Kentucky lawmaker earns name for himself by voting ‘no’" Accessed July 5, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 Fox News "Ashley Judd running for Senate in Kentucky?" accessed February 15, 2013
  18. Bioguide, "Addison Mitchell McConnell," accessed April 29, 2014
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named lowapp
  20. The Hill, "Candidates won’t commit to McConnell," accessed April 30, 2014
  21. Huffington Post " Kentucky Senate Poll Shows Mitch McConnell Tied With Alison Lundergan Grimes" Accessed June 6, 2013
  22. Public Policy Polling "Kentucky Polling Memo" Accessed June 6, 2013
  23. "McConnell ahead in new poll" Accessed June 6, 2013
  24. Politico "Survey of Likely Voters Statewide in Kentucky" Accessed June 6, 2013
  25. Washington Examiner "Mitch McConnell raises another $2.2m for re-election campaign" Accessed July 12, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Washington Post "DSCC, McConnell super PAC launch ads" Accessed July 19, 2013
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Washington Post "New McConnell ad plays up Democrats’ ‘dirty’ attacks" Accessed April 19, 2013
  28. Politico "Videoshare" Accessed June 26, 2013
  29. Politico "Kentucky Senate ads heating up" Accessed June 26, 2013
  30. WHAS "Grimes to challenge McConnell in 2014" Accessed July 1, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 USA Today "McConnell mocks Democratic rival in video" Accessed July 3, 2013
  32. Courier Journal "Gov. Steve Beshear pledges support for Alison Lundergan Grimes" Accessed July 11, 2013
  33. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"