In addition to fighting off Democratic challengers, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will also have to to defeat at least one fellow Republican next year.
An aide to Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin distributed a news advisory Tuesday announcing stops on a statewide tour announcing his candidacy for Senate.
Bevin's entry into the race could force a shift in the McConnell campaign, which had been concentrating entirely on Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State.
The move by Bevin to challenge McConnell reflects a splintering of the tea party movement in Kentucky. Many activists, including Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul of Bowling Green, have already pledged their support to McConnell's 2014 re-election efforts.
Not All Tea Party Groups Think Alike Re: McConnell in '14
McConnell’s re-election effort is highlighting divisions between some Kentucky tea party organizations, and national tea party groups backing the U.S. Senate Minority Leader.
The United Kentucky Tea Party has announced it will support McConnell’s GOP challenger, Matt Bevin, and slammed two national branches of the Tea Party for their endorsements of McConnell. The TeaParty.net and Tea Party Nation threw their support behind McConnell earlier this year, with one group saying its members were willing to support “someone who isn’t perfect” if it helped Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate.
In an open letter this week to the two national Tea Party groups, a spokesman for The United Kentucky Tea Party slammed the organizations for endorsing McConnell, saying it showed a “lack of research” and “poor judgment.”
Some tea party activists oppose McConnell because of his past support for the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind education law, and the 2008 Wall Street bailout.