Mitch McConnell's Republican Challenger Matt Bevin Is About to Enter the Race

Elspeth Reeve
Mitch McConnell's Republican Challenger Matt Bevin Is About to Enter the Race

Mitch McConnell — the Senate Minority Leader and who has led Senate Republicans' efforts to block President Obama's agenda the last four years — will be challenged from the right in the Republican primary in 2014. Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin will announce his candidacy on Wednesday, The Daily Caller's Alex Pappas reports, and will make eight campaign stops across the state. The group Matt Bevin for Senate has reserved ad time on Kentucky television starting this week, Politico's Alexander Burns reports.

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There have been reports for months that Bevin has been eyeing entering the race. Bevin has spoken with several conservative groups, including the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by Jim DeMint. Though Bevin might be able to fund his own campaign, "A key test of his viability may be whether conservative outside groups are willing to give him back-up on the airwaves." McConnell's campaign has been doing its best to discourage Tea Party groups from embracing Bevin. There has already been a mini-scandal over Bevin's family business, the Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Co., which makes bells in East Hampton, Conn., took state grant money after a fire at its factory. McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton released a statement on Friday referencing the government help: "Matthew Griswold Bevin is not a Kentucky conservative, he is merely an East Coast con man."

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Democrats are hoping to make Kentucky a competitive race in 2014, and are hoping some Republican in-fighting will make that task easier. In 2012, Richard Mourdock beat Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar in the Republican primary only to lose the general election. But McConnell is not very popular in Kentucky — more disapprove of him than approve. His Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, was elected Kentucky secretary of state with 60 percent of the vote in 2011.