Reality Check: Out-of-state money funding Kentucky Senate race

Reality Check: Out-of-state money funding Kentucky Senate race

KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Decision day in Kentucky is going to be historic no matter who wins.

Mitch McConnell is looking to extend his run as the Commonwealth's longest serving senator, while Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is looking to become the first woman elected senator in the history of the Bluegrass State.

The Center for Responsive Politics tracks every dollar spent on every race in the country. For every dollar spent in support of Mitch McConnell's campaign, 81 percent has come from outside the Commonwealth, according to CRP. For Grimes, it's 72 percent.

"I think it would surprise people to learn the types of interest and the number of people who care about a race that is happening in their state," the CRP's Sarah Bryner tells FOX19 NOW.

Given the millions of dollars it's spent on the campaign, few groups seem to have as much "interest" in the race as Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a political action committee or "PAC" with a P.O. Box listing in Louisville.

Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, this group, and others like it, are free to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals. Groups are then allowed to spend that money advocating for or against any political candidate of their choosing. However, of the $2.4 million KSL has spent going after Alison Grimes, only 4.58 percent actually comes from Kentucky.

Meanwhile, outside money is also being used to target the incumbent: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent more than $770,000 on the race. So why is a group headquartered in Washington D.C. spending money in the Commonwealth? Perhaps because this race may be too close to call.

While several polls have McConnell enjoying a modest single-digit lead, according to a new Bluegrass Poll, it's Grimes with a slim, two point advantage.

"The question of money coming from outside a certain region is one of access and one of accountability," adds Bryner. And that's the bottom line: Kentucky's senate race is being bought and paid for by a flood of outside money, which begs the question; who will be accessible to the winner? And who will the winner be accountable to?

Kentuckians will cast their ballot on Nov. 4. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

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