The Washington Post

Matt Bevin launches campaign against McConnell

Tea party activist Matt Bevin has kicked off his campaign against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with an ad painting the minority leader as a failed aisle-crosser.

"Mitch McConnell has had a long career in politics. But after 30 years in politics, is his leadership really the best that we can do?" Bevin asks. "America deserves more than failed leadership. We can do better."

A narrator chimes in, saying that "McConnell has voted for higher taxes, bailouts, debt ceiling increases, congressional pay raises, and liberal judges." Bevin, on the other hand, is described as a "successful businessman, father of nine, veteran, conservative, Republican."

The Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC once affiliated with former senator Jim DeMint, might back Bevin's bid.

"We're open to supporting Matt Bevin's campaign and will be waiting to see if the grassroots in Kentucky unite behind him," executive director Matt Hoskins said. "If McConnell doesn't respect the voters enough to defend his own record, he doesn't deserve to be in the Senate."

The anti-tax Club for Growth is also keeping an eye on Bevin.

“We’re watching the race,” spokesman Barney Keller said.

But Bevin will not have the support of the state's most prominent tea party ally, Sen. Rand Paul (R).

"Mitch McConnell is a proven conservative who stands strong for Kentucky in the face of President Obama’s big government agenda in Washington," the freshman senator said in a statement.

Although McConnell backed Paul's opponent in his 2010 Senate primary, the senior senator has taken pains to win over his colleague and his supporters. He even hired Paul's campaign manager.

Even before Bevin announced his campaign, McConnell was out with his own ad labeling his primary opponent “Bailout Bevin” and noting that Bevin’s business — which is based in Connecticut — accepted $200,000 in bailout funds.

Bevin is kicking off his campaign against McConnell with a three-day tour of the state.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.