Grimes: "I will continue to fight for the Commonwealth of Kentucky"

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LEXINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Since announcing her candidacy, Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has campaigned hard, crossing the state and spending millions on ads and mailers in an effort to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell.

But she came up short against McConnell Tuesday night. She conceded the race to her opponent around 8:15 p.m.

Trying to remain upbeat after a decisive victory by McConnell, the crowd of about 300 heard first from State Auditor Adam Edelen, then Governor Steve Beshear and then Grimes herself.

"This journey, the fight for you, was worth is," Grimes said. "I will continue to fight for the Commonwealth of Kentucky each and every day."

"She's still standing straight up, she's looking forward and she's going to help me and others lead the state in a progressive fashion," said Beshear.

An NBC/Marist College poll released Sunday showed McConnell with a lead of 50-41, but Grimes supporters said they still felt their candidate was within striking distance of the sitting senator. They also pointed out a large group of undecided voters they felt would cast votes for Grimes.

Grimes won early support, and at one point took the lead from McConnell in early polling. However, she never pulled above 50 percent of the vote, and many of Kentucky's undecideds showed they would break for McConnell in later polling. Grimes's campaign also showed some missteps, including a refusal to say who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential election, despite serving as a delegate both years. In October, her campaign lost key funding from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Grimes's campaign said about 4,000 volunteers had connected with half a million Kentucky voters during the election. Her efforts also commanded visits from major Democratic figures including former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On Tuesday, Grimes and her husband cast their own votes in the early morning before a day of meeting with campaign supporters and voters.

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