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McConnell projected to win re-election: NBC News

Kentucky Senate Candidates Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell.
Reuters
Kentucky Senate Candidates Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell.

NBC News projects that Mitch McConnell will win re-election for his Kentucky senate seat.

McConnell, the current Senate minority leader, was challenged by Democratic rival Alison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell won his race despite Kentucky voters' negative views of him. McConnell has a 52% unfavorable rating to just 46% favorable in the NBC News exit poll, which is usually dangerous territory for an incumbent. Fortunately for McConnell, his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, proved to be a lackluster candidate.

The president has a 63% disapproval rating in the Blue Grass State to just 37% approval. According to the exit poll, Grimes' voter rating stands at 54% unfavorable to just 43% favorable. The Democrat is also seriously undercut by the broader political environment. More than half—52%—of Kentucky voters feel that the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

In her concession speech, Grimes said she hopes "the message has been sent to Congress that we need to work to increase the minimum wage, to close the gender pay gap, and to bring good paying jobs back to the commonwealth of Kentucky."

For more on the midterms elections, see the CNBC live blog.

—NBC News contributed to this report.