March 28th, 2014
08:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Challenger hopes to score off McConnell's campaign foul

(CNN) - Mitch McConnell's conservative primary challenger is hoping to score some points off of a highly publicized mistake by the Senate Minority Leader's re-election team.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, hoping to boost his underdog challenge against McConnell in Kentucky's May Republican primary, is going up with a TV commercial Friday that pokes fun at web video released earlier this week by the senator's campaign that included a clip of a team wearing blue uniforms celebrating a national championship in men's basketball. The major problem was that the team wasn't the Kentucky Wildcats, but instead the Duke University Blue Devils. There's little love among Kentucky college basketball fans for the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference school from North Carolina.

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After apologizing for the error in the video, which was produced by an outside vendor, the McConnell campaign committed another foul by replacing the clip with an image of a University of Kentucky star basketball player, which possibly violated NCAA rules. The McConnell campaign ended up pulling the video, and the incident drew plenty of local and even some national coverage. It also gave both Bevin and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell's Democratic challenger, an opportunity to criticize the Senate GOP leader.

Now Bevin's going a step further, by running a TV commercial that features a cutout of McConnell in a blue Duke University jersey. And Bevin's campaign is running the ad Friday night during the showdown between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. The two Bluegrass State  college basketball powerhouses are facing off in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament.

The spot will run in the Louisville and Lexington (home of the University of Kentucky) markets, and it's a very safe bet that lots of eyeballs will see the ad.

"March Madness in Kentucky: Commitment, courage – you gotta love it,” Bevin says in the commercial. He goes on to say "even if your team is already out of the tournament," as the visual of McConnell in a Duke uniform is put up on the scene. Duke lost in the first round of the tournament.

Polling in Kentucky indicates McConnell with a very large lead over Bevin in the race for the GOP Senate nomination.
McConnell's campaign was quick to react to the new Bevin ad, saying "given Bailout Bevin's undying commitment to a fictional account of himself and Senator McConnell, we actually expected this ad to be about the time he won a national championship back in the 80s as a point guard for the MIT Engineers."

Grimes, by the way, had picked Wichita State to beat Kentucky in her tournament bracket, which may not have played well in the Bluegrass State. The Wildcats topped the previously unbeaten Shockers in a upset victory. And she picked Louisville to fall to Florida in the national championship game.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2014 • Kentucky • Matt Bevin • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Gary

    Now thats important.

    March 27, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Thomas

    It would be great to see ultra conservative Louisville businessman Matt Bevin win the election , we need more Scott Walker or Ted Cruz clowns in office to return America to it's GW Bush era greatness !

    Rick Santorum / Louie Gohmert 2016
    Being Right is never Being Sorry !

    March 28, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |

    The teaparty sluggs, the most unpopular GOP low life's in the USA and cause of the 24 billion dollar goverment shutdown will take the whole GOP DOWN the TIOLET in November , why would anybody WASTE their vote on these loser obstructionist GOP unqualified MORONS, oh yea, the out of state KOCH BROTHERS told them to??????

    March 28, 2014 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  4. Marie MD

    LOL. I don't see the turtle man (sorry turtles) as a big fan of sports and never mind participating.
    Has anyone seen the Daily Show poking fun at him and his campaign TV ad? It's hilarious.

    March 28, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    This nation's nonsense is this Mitch McConnell. Drive this animal away, please.

    March 28, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    I don't root for Duke, Kentucky, or Louisville. I'm rooting for the underdog, Matt Bevin, in the primary. After watching McConnell and Rand Paul caught on camera synchronizing their talking points to blame Democrats for the government shutdown last October, both of them need to be voted out of office.

    March 28, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |

    I hope the voters of ky aren't DUMB enough to fall for this STUPID BS!!!!!

    March 28, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Pete

    Hey McConnell bought his last election anyway spending well more than most to keep his seat and even then just barely getting reelected...His money and his so called popularity is non existant anymore and people won't flock to vote for him because what he's done for Kentuckians,basicly nothing..McConnell you sow what you reep and again you've done basicly nothing but obstruct,reject anything progressive for the people and after that 24 billion dollar government shut down debacle you and your collegues achived you should be shown the door at midterms ,you surely deserve it!!

    March 28, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. Lizzie

    Pete, wow, republicans buy their elections, democrats win by being honest, and LOVED by the people.

    March 28, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Luc

    You have to be kidding is this what tea party politics is all about. OMG They the GOP can beet themselves up all day the American public is watching this gong show and just LOL. Good luck in 2024 GOP. These rich guys gotta be smarter than this no. Who am I kidding.

    March 28, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Come on... you can say it... "Majority Leader McConnell". There... that wasn't so hard, was it? Nate Silver seems to think so, and he was the left's heartthrob when his stats showed Obama winning.

    March 28, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Come on... you can say it... "Majority Leader McConnell". There... that wasn't so hard, was it?
    Cut that out, would you? Saying that is just as dangerous as saying "Beetlegeuse."

    March 28, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |