There’s a well-known axiom in the political world that’s truer now than ever before: Money is the mother’s milk of politics.
Having stipulated that money almost always serves as the main determining factor when it comes to political races, it appears the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is sucking on hind teat in his race to win another term in the U.S. Senate, according to a fundraising report from Open Secrets, which shows McConnell falling behind his likely Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath:
“McGrath outraised McConnell in the first quarter of this year, reporting she received $12.8 million while the Republican incumbent raised $7.8 million. She now edges out McConnell in total fundraising, bringing in nearly $30 million to his $25.6 million.”
Additionally, McGrath’s donations are coming from small donors, meaning she has a larger fundraising base than McConnell, who is being financed by political action committees and large corporate donors who are eager to have him do their bidding if he happens to win another six-year term in office.
Could McConnell actually lose his bid for reelection? FiveThirtyEight is projecting that McConnell will win, but by a very slim margin. And when an incumbent is still locked in a tie or down by one or two points in the polls the way McConnell currently is, that’s a very bad sign. It makes him vulnerable to a younger, better-financed challenger like McGrath.
Also, McGrath isn’t the kind of Democrat that McConnell can try to portray as just another liberal. She’s a former Marine fighter pilot who served for 20 years in the military and flew 89 combat missions, reaching the rank of major before she retired. This is a very accomplished lady who cannot be slagged as weak on national security issues.
Raymond La Raja, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, notes that McGrath does indeed have a very real shot of pulling off what would be one of the biggest upsets in U.S. political history, and her fundraising suggests she is indeed formidable:
“My guess is the Senate Leadership Fund will attack McGrath soon after primary to soften her numbers and spread the gap between her and McConnell early on as possible. If the close poll numbers linger, that presages a Democratic surge that will surely scare other Republican incumbents.
“Amy on paper is a big candidate, it’s a long shot but it is possible.”
If 2020 turns out to be a wave election, as many predict, and Joe Biden has coattails, “Moscow Mitch” McConnell could well be consigned to the scrapheap of political has-been’s. How sweet that would be!