A month ago, I reported that Democratic US Senate candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes was embroiled in a primary payoff scandal in Kentucky. Grimes and several other Democrats are hoping to face off against incumbent GOP Senator Mitch McConnell who also happens to be the Senate Minority Leader.
In the scandal, Democrat Ed Marksberry reported that shortly after Grimes’ father Jerry Lundergan expressed concern about Marksberry’s role in the primary race, he was approached by a person who told him that if he withdrew from the primary and Grimes defeated McConnell that he would be owed a favor if he ever needed it.
Evidently, the scandal hasn’t been enough to dissuade Kentucky voters. In the latest Bluegrass Poll, Grimes leads McConnell 46% to 42%. When asked how they feel about McConnell, only 27% said they had a positive opinion of him while 50% said they had an unfavorable opinion of the 30 year veteran senator. Even among conservatives, only 43% said they had a favorable opinion of him and this is the group that McConnell has been counting on the most.
If that’s not enough bad news for the Senate Minority Leader, it turns out that McConnell’s approval rating is worse than Obama’s. Obama’s rating in the poll was on 34% but McConnell’s was a dismal 32%.
Republicans are trying desperately to gain enough seats in the Senate in this year’s mid-term elections and the last thing they need to is to lose the seat of the Minority Leader. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the local GOP camp to that seems capable of challenging McConnell or Grimes. The same Bluegrass Poll puts McConnell ahead of any GOP challenger by 26% or higher.
I live in McConnell’s district in northern Kentucky and I have to say that a number of local conservatives are not pleased with his actions over the past several years. I would like to see a younger more conservative Republican oppose him in the primary, but haven’t heard of one running against him and the primary in coming up in May.
If it comes down to McConnell vs. Grimes, I hope that conservatives will see the importance of keeping his senate seat from the Democrats. If we have any hope of containing Obama and even impeaching him, the Republicans have to keep all of the seats they currently have and win 6 more. Losing McConnell’s seat will only make that task all the harder.