Potential McConnell challenger to announce Senate decision
July 22nd, 2013
10:22 AM ET
12 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. TomInRochNY

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

    Silly person, anyTea Party candidate is the least electable. Several elections all over the country have proven that.

    July 22, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Mitch McConnell will never waiver is his fight for our Kentucky values."

    Mitch McConnell / Rand Paul 2016

    Aqua Buddha / KFC

    July 22, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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