Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign for U.S. Senate announced Tuesday it had raised $4.9 million in the third quarter, shattering yet another Kentucky fundraising record on a day when some of her allies seemed to be jumping ship.
The Grimes campaign said in a news release that it had $4.4 million in cash on hand. Hours earlier, a published report stated that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped airing ads on her behalf.
Also Tuesday, the liberal group MoveOn.org, which has worked on Grimes' behalf, issued a statement calling on Grimes to pull a television ad dealing with immigration, which the activist group called "offensive."
In a statement to The Associated Press, the DSCC said it had spent more than $2 million in Kentucky and continued to finance get-out-the-vote operations, but it made no commitment to go back on the air in support of Grimes. The Senate Majority PAC, a fundraising committee associated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, also has stopped airing ads in the state.
The DSCC's decision to take its money out of Kentucky, a move that was first reported by the Washington publication Roll Call, sent the message that Grimes is "on her own," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza put it.
Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said he is "confident our own substantial resources will be complemented by other investments in the closing days as this airtight race goes down to the wire."
He said the campaign was "thrilled that our grass-roots supporters are carrying this campaign forward during the final three weeks of this race, and our momentum has us primed to sprint to the finish line."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet released his third-quarter fundraising numbers.
Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, set the state's previous quarterly fundraising record in the second quarter, when she raised $4 million. She has outraised McConnell in three of the last four quarters, collecting more than $16 million since beginning her campaign in summer 2013.
McConnell, who enjoyed a significant fundraising head start, broke his own previous record at the end of the second quarter, raising $3.1 million to bring his total to more than $25 million raised. That figure blew away the previous Kentucky record of $20 million raised that McConnell set with his 2008 campaign.
The senator's campaign reported $9.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the second quarter.
His campaign also has benefitted from millions of dollars in advertising by conservative allies, including a new $1.2 million advertising campaign against Grimes launched Tuesday by Kentuckians for Strong Leadership.
Meanwhile, some of Grimes' allies were lobbing criticisms at the Democratic candidate Tuesday.
MoveOn.org condemned the Grimes campaign for running an immigration ad in which the narrator uses the term "illegal aliens" and Grimes looks at the camera and says she approves the ad "because I've never supported amnesty or benefits for illegal immigrants and I never will."
Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org's political action committee, called on the Grimes campaign to remove the ad, describing it as "deeply upsetting."
"Grimes seems to be forgetting that we are a nation of immigrants that has continually strived to honor all the hard-working people who aspire to the American Dream," Sheyman said. "MoveOn members in Kentucky and across the country are contacting millions of voters to help prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate, and it makes that important work harder when Democrats embrace inflammatory Republican rhetoric."
Sheyman said Grimes "needs to take this offensive advertisement off the air immediately."
The pro-immigration reform group America's Voice said Grimes' ad "smacks of desperation."
"By trying to get to McConnell's right, Grimes jeopardizes her attempts to define herself as a leader who will tackle tough problems with bipartisan solutions," Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, said in a statement. "Democrats should leave it to Republicans to be the anti-immigrant party that has fought tooth and nail to block an immigration reform proposal supported by a strong majority of American voters."