Polls in Ken­tucky have now closed, and news net­works are pro­ject­ing that Mitch McConnell has been reelect­ed as Ken­tuck­y’s senior U.S. Sen­a­tor, defeat­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Ali­son Lun­der­gan Grimes.

Grimes raised a lot of mon­ey and ran a cred­i­ble cam­paign in the eyes of many observers, but found going up against “Sen­a­tor Grid­lock” to be an incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult task. McConnell, a vet­er­an cam­paign­er, stuck to his strat­e­gy of run­ning against Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and did just about every­thing pos­si­ble to put Grimes on the defen­sive for the dura­tion of the campaign.

The ear­ly num­bers indi­cate he will pre­vail with a fair­ly com­fort­able mar­gin of victory.

Grimes’ team tried might­i­ly to put dis­tance between her­self and Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, hop­ing to blunt attacks by McConnell and the Repub­li­can Par­ty, but it did­n’t work.

A telling moment came late in the cam­paign, when Grimes was asked dur­ing debates if she vot­ed for Oba­ma in 2008 and 2012.

Rather than sim­ply say­ing yes and piv­ot­ing to go on offense, she refused to answer, and her prin­ci­pled stalling became a major sto­ry. Grimes found her­self mocked on late night TV for refus­ing to sim­ply give an upfront response.

Grimes did do a good job (at times) of attack­ing McConnel­l’s record and pil­lo­ry­ing him for his oppo­si­tion to rais­ing the min­i­mum wage and enact­ing equal pay for equal work. But McConnell nev­er seemed fazed by Grimes or her campaign.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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