Kentucky, today:

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Kentucky voters would make a terrible trade if they replaced him with a Democrat lacking the clout to deliver huge amounts of federal money he took credit for bringing back to the Bluegrass state.

McConnell, the Senate's top-ranking Republican, touted his seniority accumulated over four terms in what has become a major theme in his toughest re-election fight, coming amid a national economic crisis and dismal approval ratings for President Bush, his long time ally.

South Dakota, 2004 [AP, from Nexis]:

[Senator Majority Leader Tom] Daschle, 56, contends he deserves a fourth Senate term because he has the clout to get funding for projects and approval for programs important to the state. His ads point to funding he helped obtain for highway projects, water projects and other endeavors.

"I sit at one of the most powerful desks in the world, and right now that desk belongs to the people of South Dakota," Daschle told The Associated Press.

"Right now we're at the front of the line in the Senate, in the Congress. The question is whether we want to go to the back of the line or stay at the front," the Democratic senator said.

Daschle, of course, lost his election. The polls are closing. It may be too late for McConnell's opponent, Bruce Lunsford, to close the deal, but similarities abound.

-- Tim Fernholz

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