McConnell raises $2.2 million in fourth quarter of 2013; Grimes raises $2.1 million

syoungman@herald-leader.comJanuary 31, 2014 Updated 20 hours ago

Despite raising more than $2 million during a fundraising quarter filled with holidays, likely Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes continues to face a significant cash disadvantage against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Both campaigns released their fundraising totals for the fourth quarter of 2013 Friday, with McConnell reporting $2.2 million for his re-election efforts and Grimes reporting $2.1 million.

McConnell's latest numbers bring his total for the election cycle to $20 million, with $10.9 million in the bank, his campaign reported Friday.

Grimes has raised about $4.6 million since entering the race July 1 and has about $3.5 million in cash on hand, according to her campaign.

"Sen. McConnell, unlike his challengers, made the decision to cancel fundraising efforts during the government shutdown and was still able to bring in over $2 million this quarter, which further illustrates the enthusiastic support he is gaining every day from people across America who appreciate his conservative leadership and willingness to fight on their behalf," Jesse Benton, McConnell's campaign manager, said in a statement.

McConnell raised about the same amount in the third quarter, when he was bested by Grimes, who pulled in about $2.5 million during her first three months in the race.

"Despite the McConnell campaign burning through nearly every dollar raised in 2013's third fundraising quarter, our campaign has built a war chest of almost $3.5 million that will allow us to have the resources to win this race," the Grimes campaign said Friday in a news release.

McConnell's burn rate slowed considerably in the fourth quarter, though, and his nearly $11 million in cash on hand makes for a significant fundraising advantage over Grimes heading into the new year.

Still, Grimes' fundraising total for the fourth quarter is larger than any other Democratic challenger in the nation, reflecting national Democrats' desire to take down McConnell.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., raised $2.1 million; North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan reported raising $2 million; and Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for Georgia's open Senate seat, reported raising $1.6 million.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, who is challenging McConnell in the Republican primary, previously said he raised about $900,000 in the fourth quarter. He raised only $220,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 but tossed in $600,000 of his own money to kick-start his campaign.

The Republican Party of Kentucky reported Friday to the Federal Election Commission that it has $1.37 million in cash on hand.

"We are extraordinarily pleased to report that the Republican Party of Kentucky heads into an important election year with such robust fundraising numbers, including more than $1.3 million cash on hand in our federal account," GOP chairman Steve Robertson said in a statement.

The Kentucky Democratic Party hasn't announced its latest financial numbers.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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