Businessman Matt Bevin is the guy some see moving up in the Kentucky GOP governor's primary. Bevin also challenged now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a primary last year.
These two things are not distinct from one another. Now that Bevin's chances appear to be on the rise in the May 19 primary (thanks to Agriculture Commissioner James Comer's problems), here comes Team McConnell to knock him down a peg or two.
And boy do they. Here is top McConnell aide Josh Holmes on Bevin in a new Lousiville Courier-Journal story:
Josh Holmes, McConnell's former chief of staff and an adviser to his campaign, was even more critical, saying that Bevin can't be trusted and is essentially running to satisfy his ego.
"If Matt Bevin had moved to a state where he had a better shot at being elected to office as a Democrat, he would articulate the values of liberalism with the same conviction he now talks about conservatism," Holmes said in a statement.
"It's abundantly clear that his guiding light is to embrace whatever gets himself a little further down the road," he said. "If somehow Matt Bevin got into the governor's mansion his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait."
McConnell, for what it's worth, dispatched Bevin last year with relative ease, 60-35. But Bevin's self-funded campaign made the primary a headache, and things -- as they often do in Kentucky -- got a little muddy.
And it's not just a little turnabout-is-fair-play either. There is concern among some in the GOP that Bevin isn't the strongest candidate for the general election. "You'll see everyone ramping up their concern," said one well-connected but unaligned Kentucky GOP operative. "It's a legitimate worry."
Bevin is now battling the better-funded Hal Heiner and the one-time frontrunner Comer for the GOP nomination. Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway waits in the general election in what promises to be the top governor's race of 2015.