KY Senate: Conservative group backs Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger

Matt Bevin (photo courtesy of Matt Bevin for Kentucky

Following a heated and divisive fight over ObamaCare and a deal brokered between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a prominent conservative organization has announced its endorsement of the Republican leader’s primary challenger.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), announced on Friday that they would back Matt Bevin, a conservative candidate challenging McConnell for the Republican nomination in Kentucky.

“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,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, in a press statement.

“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. But if people in Kentucky and all across the country rise up and demand something better, we’re confident Matt Bevin can win this race,” he added.

The Senate Conservatives Fund is framing the race between Bevin, who they call a “constitutional conservative,” and McConnell, labeled as a “Washington insider” who has “a liberal record and refuses to fight for conservative principles.”

McConnell took heavy criticism from grassroots conservatives for not backing or participating in Sen. Ted Cruz’s quasi-filibuster at the end of last month. The Senate Conservatives Fund backed Cruz and efforts to defund or change ObamaCare.

This endorsement, however, comes on the heels of the deal brokered between Reid and McConnell that reopened the federal government and raised the debt ceiling without major concessions on ObamaCare.

McConnell not only faces a primary challenge from his right in Bevin, but also faces a competitive Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who outraised the Kentucky Republican in the most recent quarter. McConnell, however, has $10 million in cash on hand, far more than Lundergan Grimes. Bevan’s most recent fundraising numbers were unavailable.

Political pundits are predicting a tight race between McConnell, who is one of the most unpopular Republicans in the Senate, and Lundergan Grimes. Rothenberg Political Report rates the seat as “Republican Favored.” But Cook Political Report has the race as a “Toss Up.”

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