(CNN) - Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes out raised Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell during the first three months of this year, but the five-term senator still holds a more than two-to-one advantage over his Democratic challenger when it comes to money in the bank.
The Senate battle in the Bluegrass State could turn into the most expensive and most bitter contest this year.
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Grimes' campaign reported Tuesday that it brought in over $2.7 million during the January through March period, the second time in the past three quarters that she's out raised McConnell. The senator's campaign announced Monday it had a $2.4 million haul for the first quarter of 2014.
"Grassroots supporters from all 120 Kentucky counties have invested in our campaign, demonstrating the growing excitement from Democrats, Republicans and Independents to elect a leader who will bring a fresh, bold vision to the U.S. Senate. Alison’s focus on creating good-paying jobs and strengthening the middle class is clearly resonating with Kentuckians," said Grimes' senior adviser Jonathan Hurst.
When it comes to cash on hand, McConnell still has the larger war chest. His campaign announced that it has $10.4 million in the bank, down around $500,000 from where it started the year. Grimes' campaign says it has just under $5 million cash on hand.
Grimes is trying to frame the contest as a referendum McConnell and his three decades in Washington, while McConnell is trying to tie Grimes to President Barack Obama, who's unpopular in Kentucky.
"The very same ultra rich liberal elite who bankrolled Barack Obama into the White House are pulling out all the stops for Alison Lundergan Grimes. Kentuckians know darn well her entire campaign is funded by those who seek to destroy Kentucky values and our way of life and the only way they can accomplish that is by getting rid of the man responsible for stopping them, Mitch McConnell," said Allison Moore, the senator's campaign spokeswoman.
Before facing off against Grimes in the general election, McConnell has to fend off a primary challenge from the right from businessman Matt Bevin, who enjoys the support of some tea party groups and some Washington-based conservative organizations. Bevin announced that he raised $1.1 million in the first three months of the year.
Polls indicate that McConnell is the overwhelming favorite in Kentucky's May 20th GOP Senate primary, but the surveys also suggest that things are tied up between the senator and Grimes in a potential November showdown.