Potential McConnell challenger to announce Senate decision
July 22nd, 2013
10:22 AM ET
9 months ago

Potential McConnell challenger to announce Senate decision

Updated 1:50 p.m. ET, 7/22

(CNN) - After months of speculation, Republican Matt Bevin will announce Wednesday whether he'll take on the Senate's most powerful Republican in a GOP primary for next year's election.

Bevin, a Louisville, Kentucky businessman with tea party ties, has been considering a possible challenge against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

According to a news release, Wednesday's event will be the first of eight "campaign" stops across the state in three days, an apparent sign that Bevin plans to run.

"One thing is increasingly clear: Kentucky is ready for a change from Mitch McConnell's big government, big spending record of voting for bailouts, debt ceiling increases, and deficit spending," Sarah Durand, Bevin's spokesperson, said in a statement.

She added that voters in Kentucky are "tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils."

"They deserve the opportunity to vote for a candidate who will truly represent their interests and values, and put Kentuckians first," she said.

Bevin has spoken with some top conservative advocacy groups. A source close to the Senate Conservative Fund, a super PAC once associated with former Sen. Jim DeMint and known for supporting conservative challengers in GOP primaries, says Bevin came by and expressed his philosophy, as well as discussed the possibility of launching a primary challenge against McConnell.

Earlier this month, SCF's executive director argued McConnell is "the least electable Republican senator running for re-election in 2014."

"He could lose this race and cost Republicans the majority," Matt Hoskins continued. "He needs to consider whether it might be time to hang it up."

Bevin also met with another conservative group, Club for Growth, according to an official with knowledge of the meeting.

"We are watching the race," the group's spokesman, Barney Keller, said.

In addition, Bevin met with Madison Project PAC, a national conservative PAC that helps elect candidates.

A source close to Bevin said that some "national tea party groups" have also reached out to Bevin, and that he's met with a number of them regarding a possible primary challenge.

Should Bevin decide to run, McConnell's campaign team is ready to attack.

"Mathew Griswold Bevin is not a Kentucky Conservative, he is merely a traveling con man," campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said. "While it is sad to see someone who claims to be a Republican doing Barack Obama's bidding, his campaign is nothing more than a nuisance. Mitch McConnell will never waiver is his fight for our Kentucky values."

The source close to Bevin also confirmed that the would-be candidate has booked television ad time.

McConnell, who's up for a sixth term in the Senate next next year, already has a hefty war chest with close to $10 million cash on hand.

Asked how Bevin would be able to compete against McConnell's haul, the source said the businessman would be able to self-finance to some extent.

McConnell has an opponent on the Democratic side. Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes announced her Senate bid earlier this month.


Filed under: Kentucky • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    McConnell has his number one priority mixed up. McConnell had better stop wasting his money running against Democrats who aren't running. He's not gong to face a Democrat if he can't get through a primary challenge.

    If there were any doubts about the existence of a serious rift in the right wing, a primary challenge to McConnell would put those doubts to rest. IMO. It would be neo-conservatism versus neo-libertarianism. Can't say which is worse.

    July 22, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. independant jim

    McConnell does not

    July 22, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    McObstruction is catching it from every angle. I don't think he'll lose to anyone to his right because he's as far right as you can go. I sure hope Grimes beats him and his smear machine.

    July 22, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. rs

    As bad as Mr. McConnell has been with his dealings with the duly elected President, and his responsibilities to the citizens of his state and this nation, in all due respect, we don't need him replaced by someone even more radicalized. The GOP needs to moderate, not continue it's destructive rightward march.

    July 22, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. just sayin

    nobody is going to challenge him in a primary. dream on lefties. he'll mop the floor with his democrat opponent as well. mitch ain't no pushover.

    July 22, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. independant jim

    McConnell does not serve the people of Kentucky his sole purpose as a senator for the last 5 years was to block any legislation coming thru the senate ..he even filibustered his own legislation ..how do the people of Kentucky feel; about a senator that does nothing for them ..well know after the next election

    July 22, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Bill

    McConnell will be removed – end of story. He is the poster child for everything that is wrong in the Congress.

    July 22, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. hahahaha

    Alison Grimey won't know what hit her. Grimey Democrat doesn't stand a chance. I almost feel sorry for her. Well, maybe not.

    July 22, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Waste of money to run against the soon to be Senate Majority Leader.

    July 22, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Data Driven

    The "tea party" smells blood in the water.

    But I think the old campaigner will emerge victorious. For once I agree with just sayin: McConnell ain't no pushover.

    July 22, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Larry in Houston

    bevin must not understand that 'ol mitch is a lifer – LOL – I mean, bevin may be a businessman, w/ T party ties, but that don't cut any ice – If you go arounf the whole state of Ky – bring along a pic of mitch & a pic of bevin – walk any sidewalk, or mall, or any business – show the avg voter both pics – ask them what their names are, and / or who they are. And see how many of your avg. "Voters" in that state who they notice first, and who's name they will match with the photo. LOL – ('ol mitch will go for a lifetime) he's got another 6 (six) terms to go. at the very least. case closed

    July 22, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mitch McConnell is not going to face a primary opponent. That being said, Mr. McConnell's days of importance within the Grand Old Party are numbered.

    July 22, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Boo

    juast sayin – "mitch ain't no pushover" – maybe not – but the people who vote from him are....guess that includes you...not something I would be too proud of and brag about.

    July 22, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Warren

    You got that right Boo. He needs to go either way....

    July 22, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. S.B. Stein

    I can't wait to see the mud fly. This should be fun if Matt Bevin poses a real challenge which would leave McConnell weak for the general if he makes it through the primary.

    July 22, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Ditch Mitch! VOTE the GOP OUT!

    July 22, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    If there is a primary challenge, it would be real interesting to see who Rand Paul would support. Seeing how McConnell's campaign staff is comprised of so many former Paul campaign staffers, you would think Paul would support McConnell. But, then again, there's the purity problem in not supporting a Tea Party candidate. Must be rough to be a conservative these days.

    July 22, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. California Gary

    Oh oh.......I think my man Mitch may have depleted his war chest going after Dems that probably won't run against him, and don't stand a chance if they do. Now he doesn't have the big treasure to fend off his real threat, the Tea Party.......which he has allowed to flourish. It would be a fitting end for his "do nothing" career in the senate. Poor Mitch.

    July 22, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. CB FL

    Bevin better hide his family and friends. Mitch will be calling those people everything but a child of GOD. Someone I don't believe he believes in.

    July 22, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Hector Slagg

    We certaitly need fiscal responsibility in Washington. We have had about all the liberal Politics we need. The latest great big liberal sucess is in Detroit. Rumor has it there are more to follow. Dream on.

    July 22, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Robert Jay

    I don't live in KY but I'll send money and get others to do the same for anyone who runs against this useless excuse for a man much less a Senator – God bless this person whoever they are!

    July 22, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Hector Slagg wrote:

    We certaitly need fiscal responsibility in Washington. We have had about all the liberal Politics we need. The latest great big liberal sucess is in Detroit. Rumor has it there are more to follow. Dream on.
    ------------------–
    Detroit has gone through a perfect storm of economic problems, ranging from the mortgage crisis to the automotive industry crisis to the Great Recession to a Republican governer cutting state aid. Detroit has been under the total financial supervision and control of a Emergency Manager, who was appointed by the Republican Governer, for well over two years, maybe three.

    July 22, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. DaveW

    I am all for a more radicalized-right Republican replacement for McBlock. Eventually the American public will lose its appetite for supporting uber-wealthy elites while the middle class disappears. At some point, even the South will see these has-beens for what they really are.

    July 22, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Robert Jay

    I saw the word "radicalized" used referring to Mc C's possible opponent – As related to Republicans I guess "radicalized" equals "STUPID" ?

    July 22, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Hector Slagg wrote:

    We certaitly need fiscal responsibility in Washington. We have had about all the liberal Politics we need. The latest great big liberal sucess is in Detroit. Rumor has it there are more to follow. Dream on.
    ------–
    Detroit has gone through a perfect storm of economic problems, ranging from the mortgage crisis to the automotive industry crisis to the Great Recession to a Republican governer cutting state aid. Detroit has been under the total financial supervision and control of a Emergency Manager, who was appointed by the Republican Governer, for well over two years, maybe three
    ------–
    Spin it any way you want to Rudy. Detroit and Michigan officials were on all of the weekend shows, and their take on it was unanimous – UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITIES (thanks to corrupt politicians and public sector unions). The only way to get those pensions at least partially off the books was bankruptcy.

    July 22, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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