Sen. Rand Paul is calling for Republicans across Kentucky to support Sen. Mitch McConnell in his campaign against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The first-term senator, considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said Friday that a vote for Grimes would be a vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his policy of advancing President Barack Obama's agenda.
McConnell says he has not spoken to Matt Bevin since defeating him in Tuesday's Republican primary. But he says he was not worried about losing Republican votes in the general election.
Grimes released an open letter to Bevin's supporters on Friday saying McConnell will lie about her in campaign ads just as he lied about Bevin. She urged them to get to know her and her true positions.
A look ahead at November's McConnell-Grimes Senate Matchup
With Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary now behind them, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes can now invest 100 percent of their time, effort, and money into the November 4 general election.
Sen. McConnell beat Tea Party activist and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the GOP primary by about 25 points, and Grimes easily won her party’s contest.
While he ultimately lost, Bevin’s candidacy exposed divisions within the Kentucky Republican Party that Democrats hope will benefit them in the fall.
A great deal of attention is now going to be paid to efforts by the McConnell campaign and its supporters to heal any lingering wounds between so-called “establishment” Republicans and Tea Partiers. At rallies across Kentucky in recent months, Tea Party supporters have assailed the Senate Minority Leader as someone who talks like a conservative while in the commonwealth, but votes with liberals when in Washington.
Bobby Alexander, with the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots, told WKU Public Radio at a recent rally in Elizabethtown that McConnell has forgotten what it means to be a Republican.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has defeated millionaire businessman Matt Bevin in an expensive and bruising primary election in Kentucky. He'll face Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the fall as he pursues his sixth term. Grimes handily won the Democratic Senate primary.
McConnell has been one of President Barack Obama's fiercest critics, but Bevin accused the longtime senator of not being conservative enough.
Bevin spent $3.3 million in his bid as a political newcomer backed by various tea party groups. McConnell drowned him out with more than $9 million in spending. Outside groups spent millions more defending his conservative credentials.
McConnell had already shifted into fall campaign mode. He's been attacking Obama's health care law and coal regulations and trying to link Grimes to the president, who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Primary races are picking up ahead of the midterm elections this fall. On Tuesday, voters in six states will go to the polls, making it one of the most important primary election days of the year.
Among the races to watch is a Tea Party challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. To give us a lay of the land is NPR political editor Charlie Mahtesian. Charlie, welcome to the program.
Just days away from the Kentucky primary, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has her eyes fixed on November and a potential general election matchup with incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell.
In front of an estimated crowd of more than 200 supporters Friday evening at Circus Square Park in Bowling Green, Grimes spoke after being introduced by State Rep. Jody Richards. It was the final stop of the day on Grimes' bus tour of Kentucky.
“The energy, the excitement is contagious,” Grimes said to the crowd. “I know you are ready, not only for May 20th but to give me enough shoe leather to run all the way until November.”
Grimes’ criticism of McConnell was unrelenting, calling the incumbent the “senator of yesterday.”
“Yesterday’s view of minimum wage, yesterday’s view against women getting equal pay for equal work. Yesterday’s view against actually bringing funding here for our universities, yesterday’s view against actually realizing it’s the job of a U.S. Senator to actually bring jobs to this state,” said Grimes.
While establishment Republicans may still rule the day, the Tea Party is bent on taking down the king, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The five-term incumbent is waging two wars to hang on to his seat. The first battle, culminating on May 20, has McConnell in a primary contest with Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Hoping he doesn’t survive to fight in the general election, Tea Party groups across Kentucky are rallying the troops ahead of the May 20 primary.
“When was the last time you saw a town hall here in Kentucky with Senator McConnell where he actually answered questions? He shows up at Lincoln Day dinners, gives his speech, and leaves," asserts Scott Hofstra with the United Kentucky Tea Party. "He’s not accountable to us and doesn’t want to be. We deserve better.”
Hofstra spoke recently in Elizabethtown to a group called the Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots, a mix of mostly blue collar workers and retirees.
National Tea Party groups are mostly split in their support of McConnell and Bevin, but state and local groups are mostly rallying around Bevin, someone they call a “true conservative,” who they think can take the GOP back to its roots.
A new poll shows Kentucky’s incumbent U.S. Senator coasting to victory against his Republican primary challenger.
But that same poll shows a dead-heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell and presumptive Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The NBC News-Marist poll shows Senator McConnell with a lead of 57-25 percent over his primary challenger, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Things are much tighter for the fall general election, however, with the poll showing McConnell with just a 46-45 percent lead over Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Sen. McConnell faces low approval numbers in the new poll, with 46 percent of registered voters saying they disapprove of the job he’s doing, while 41 percent say they approve.
Far fewer voters have formed an opinion about Secretary Grimes, with 27 percent of those surveyed saying they’re unsure, and another 10 percent who say they’ve never heard of her.
Party primaries are being held today in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana, and more will come later in the month. In Kentucky, the Tea Party has set its sights on ousting one of the GOP’s most established figures on Capitol Hill: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Phillip Bailey of WFPL reports:
In south central Kentucky, few people care more about politics than Joe Walden.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin says his opponent, incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell refuses to debate him.
Bevin’s camp announced today he has accepted KET's debate invitation for April 21. Bevin, a Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist, says the five-term senator won’t be there, however, because he doesn’t want to talk about the issues.
“I’d love to debate him, but he’s afraid to because he can’t defend his record and he has no vision for the future," Bevin said. "He can’t run on anything he’s done in the past. To me, there’s issues that matter.”
Calls to McConnell’s staff for comment were not immediately returned.
Bevin attended the Calloway County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner this weekend, but, unlike McConnell, was not invited to speak.
According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll released last week, McConnell leads Bevin 61 to 23 percent among likely Republican primary voters.
If Kentucky Republicans are sweating their party's U.S. Senate primary, they didn't show it Saturday night in Bowling Green.
At the 2014 Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, southern Kentucky Republicans rallied behind U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is facing a primary challenge by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.
Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie told WKU Public Radio he believes the GOP will be able to unite before the November general election. The Warren County Republican said it’s not the first time a well-known incumbent has faced a primary.
“Hopefully what you can do is that people can come back together," Guthrie said. "And that’s what you hope will happen—people will air out their views. You know, primaries can be tricky, there’s absolutely no doubt about it, because somebody’s going to win, and somebody’s not going to win.”
Senator McConnell took the stage Saturday night and told the audience that he believes he’ll return to Washington next year as Senate Majority Leader. Republicans need to pick up six Senate seats to control the chamber.