The battle for the political future of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky could reach more than $100 million. That would be the most expensive Senate race in history, says Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post.
Some Senate races have come extremely close to hitting the $100 million mark. The Massachusetts faceoff between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren came with an $82 million price tag, the most expensive Senate race to date.
In 2008, McConnell paid out more than $21 million, $2 million of which were personal loans from the candidate, to beat Democrat Bruce Lunsford. Right now, McConnell is well ahead of that pace for his 2014 re-election effort with $14 million, and in this race, the amount could reach as much as $35 million.
The difference is business executive Matt Bevin, McConnell’s first challenge in the Kentucky GOP primary. McConnell will need to spend even more to fight off Bevin, a wealthy candidate expected to sink much of his own money to defeat McConnell.
Bevin’s part for the primary challenge could add another $5 million to the money pile—making the race $40 million.
Democrats hate the Senate minority leader with a passion, especially since his comment about the GOP priority to make President Obama a one-term president. They will be more than willing to promote anyone running against him.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the likely Democratic nominee, has not yet raised those kinds of funds, but she does have one of the best fundraising tools — a widespread hatred of Mitch McConnell. Reasonably, she could be counted for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-$30 million.
If you were keeping track, the total number would then be around $70 million.
In addition, there will be no problem imagining both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chipping in $10 million apiece — which Cillizza sees as a “conservative figure” — on the battle in Kentucky.
Add another $20 million to the pile and the price now is about $90 million.
With another 15 months to go, the possibility of a $100 million Senate race in the Bluegrass State now becomes very real.