McConnell's GOP primary challenger gets a conservative endorsement
October 18th, 2013
01:06 PM ET
9 years ago

McConnell's GOP primary challenger gets a conservative endorsement

(CNN) - The man looking to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary has earned the endorsement of a major conservative super PAC, an endorsement that comes on the heels of a deal McConnell brokered ending the partial government shutdown.

McConnell did himself few favors with some in the conservative base by ushering in a last-minute bargain Wednesday reopening the government and raising the nation's borrowing authority while earning only cosmetic changes to Obamacare.

Now, the man launching a primary challenge against the Kentucky senator, businessman Matt Bevin, has garnered the support of the influential Senate Conservatives Fund.

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"Matt Bevin is a true conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are destroying our country. He is not afraid to stand up to the establishment and he will do what it takes to stop Obamacare," Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement announcing the endorsement.

"We know that winning this primary won't be easy. Mitch McConnell has the support of the entire Washington establishment and he will do anything to hold on to power."

The group was founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint and is known for supporting successful challengers in GOP primaries. The super PAC had said it was "open" to potentially endorsing Bevin when he first announced his challenge in July.

The group was "waiting to see if the grassroots in Kentucky unite behind him," Hoskins said of Bevin at the time.

In its statement announcing the Bevin endorsement on Friday, the group attacked McConnell, saying that he "has a liberal record and refuses to fight for conservative principles."

Counting against McConnell in the eyes of the super PAC are moves like the deal averting the so-called fiscal cliff and the government bailout of Wall Street banks. The group also attacked McConnell for doing "nothing" to fight the Senate bill passed this summer that would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants, which conservative groups see as amnesty for lawbreakers.

McConnell's campaign was quick to dismiss the endorsement.

"Matt Bevin now has the dubious honor of standing with a self-serving DC fundraising group that made its name by recruiting and promoting unelectable candidates that ensured Barack Obama a majority in the Senate," spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement.

"They clearly care less about Kentuckians than they do about their reputation for supporting laughably bad candidates."

The Kentucky Republican Senate primary is scheduled for May of next year. If McConnell beats Bevin for the GOP nomination, the five-term Senator is also facing a strong challenge from the left, with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes seeking the Democratic nomination.

Filed under: Matt Bevin • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    vic , nashville ,tn

    November 2014 News headline “Democrats regain the house and keep the senate

    November 2016 News headline “Clintons back in the white House and Dems expand their majorities in House & Senate"

    Thanks to Ted Cruz



    October 18, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Hey,even I would vote for McConnell now after see how bad the teabafoon party replacement would be and I'm a dem. the teaparty is on the road to nowhere and are totally incompetent to govern and just proved it with the 24 billon dallars knocked off our GDP in three weeks, all caused by the idiots in the GOP teabums and go buy some new clothes you look like the bums they say you are with your new flag, confederate!!!!!!!

    October 18, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Warren

    "Did he get an endorsement from a conservative or a republican?" one in the same......

    October 18, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    It is no longer a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. They are fighting over a DEAD body.

    October 18, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Do you think the 'Republican' party is one party? Or, is it made of two or more parties? And, I don't mean factions, either. I mean actual political parties. I have, and always will, regard the Tea Party as a group completely separate from the Republican Party.

    When the Tea Party first began they were a self-described "thrid party". But, the Republicans quickly saw how easily that their presence would unduly split the conservative vote, which almost guarantee liberal victories almost everywhere. And so, the Republicans made the now regrettable move of inviting them inside for a tea summit. Mistake!

    October 18, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Pandamonius

    Every time I think the Tea Party can't possibly be that ignorant, they surprise me yet again. I mean, you'd think at SOME point they'd have to realize that they can't win moderates and independents by becoming even more conservative... I guess they still believe the fairy tale that there is a secret untapped majority of conservative voters who just don't vote because their candidates aren't conservative enough.

    October 18, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, Matt now has the endorsement of a group that has an election track record of about 10%. Having met him, though, I would not discount him, even with this support group's backing. He is a determined fighter who does not believe in surrendering to overwhelming odds. After all, when his bell factory in Connecticut was destroyed by fire, instead of saying "too bad" and moving the business elsewhere, he found a place to get things going again until he could get back into full operation.
    I expect him to come out swinging, and keep at Mitch until the primary is over. Given the growth of the Tea Party in Kentucky, this could cause Mitch some serious problems. Maybe my namesake – the Real Joe Lieberman – should go to Kentucky and campaign for another of his favorite Republicans? After all, he did so for John McCain, even after McCain spurned him as his VEEP candidate.

    October 18, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Ed

    Republicans are more intolerant of diversity in their party than are democrats. However, democrats will not support someone like Joe Liberman who actually supported the Republican candidate for president (John McCain)–that's just too much diversity for democrats. On the other hand a middle of the road politician like Arlen Specter can find a home with the more tolerant democrats but not with the intolerant republicans.

    October 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    Sigh. (Putting on prognosticator hat). Bevin, I.e., Whackdoodle, beats McConnell in primary and loses to centrist Dem in the general.

    Reid/Angle Deux de Parte.

    October 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Pandamonius

    Rudy NYC
    How long is it going to take for the Republican establishment to realize that they need to deal with their Tea Party invasion themselves? Repubilcans need to start mounting primary challenges of their own against some of the Tea Party members coming from supposedly safe districts.


    The Republicans DO realize the danger of the Tea Party, and that they are on their own to fight it. The problem is, the Republicans have Gerrymandered their districts into these ultimate conservative Echo-Chambers in order to beat the Dems, that now they are paying the price for that because these rigged districts lack any voice of moderation, and will almost always back the more conservative candidate...even if they know he won't win in the General.

    The only smart thing the Republicans could do would be to formally split from the Tea Party in order to have their own primaries. Of course, they cannot bring themselves to do that because it would so split the conservative vote that almost any Democrat could walk in and win the General hands-down.

    October 18, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. al thomas

    i i am an independent. socially liberal and fiscally conservative. i seldom
    agree with sens mcconnell or mccain or graham. but i am very impressed
    by their commitment to be real Americans and vote for the good of the country.
    itheir courage to stare down the loonys like Cruz, Lee and Demint is admirable.
    these 3 good ole boy rednecks could get us all killed if we don't watch out for ourselves

    October 18, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |

    The clown show has begun. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats Mitt the twit style.

    October 18, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Thomas

    A bigger question should be, why are these "super PAC's" tax exempt? Everyone knows just what they are and what they do.

    Thank YOU !
    They have only one purpose , to make themselves money !
    They should have to pay taxes !

    October 18, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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