Matt Bevin

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.

Bevin Says McConnell Refuses to Debate Him

Mar 18, 2014
Abbey Oldham

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.

Abbey Oldham / WKU Public Radio

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.

A Senate candidate in Kentucky says same-sex marriage could lead to parent-child marriages for tax purposes.

Matt Bevin is challenging five-term Sen. Mitch McConnell in the May 20 Republican primary. Bevin told a radio talk show that marriage should retain its traditional definition as being between a man and a woman.

He says changing that could open the door to arbitrary definitions, such as people claiming to be "married to one of their children" for matters such as inheritance and hospital visits.

Bevin's campaign says he was not linking gay marriage to incest.  The campaign says he was speaking of questions such as "hospital visitations and benefits."

McConnell is the Senate minority leader.

An employee with the Legislative Research Commission has been fired after appearing in an online video in support of a Democratic Senatorial candidate.

The Courier-Journal reports that Charles Booker, 29, lost his job yesterday as an analyst for the Government Contract Review Committee. Booker appeared in a video for Alison Lundergun Grimes, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell.

In the video, Booker’s wife accuses McConnell of being out of touch with poor Kentuckians. Booker appears briefly in the video and makes a few comments about western Louisville.

LRC personnel policy prohibits employees from taking part in partisan political activity.

Abbey Oldham

Tea Party groups from across the south and midwest are pledging support in the effort to defeat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The five-term Kentucky incumbent is facing a primary challenge from Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman Scott Hofstra told WKU Public Radio activists from several states have promised to help Bevin win this spring's primary.

“We have had commitments now from Tea Party and liberty groups from Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and as far away as Florida, who have said, ‘We are going to send folks to Kentucky, at our expense, to help you on the ground get out the vote for Matt Bevin'", the Hardin County resident said.

Hofstra admits McConnell has gained many Republican allies at the local level in Kentucky during his nearly 30 years in office.

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to the Bluegrass State to campaign on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The Grimes campaign says Clinton will appear in Louisville February 25. No further details have so far been released about the visit. Clinton is the last Democrat to carry Kentucky in a presidential election.

Democrats are making no secret that Kentucky’s Senate race is one of the party’s top election priorities in 2014, and have indicated they are willing to pour money and resources into the effort to unseat Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader.

McConnell is facing a Republican primary challenge by Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.

Office of Sec. Grimes

A new statewide poll has good news for Kentucky’s Democratic Senate candidate.

While the general election is still nine months away, the poll shows Alison Lundergan Grimes with a four-point lead over five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell.

The Bluegrass Poll was conducted for four Louisville and Lexington news outlets by Survey USA. It shows 46 percent of respondents favored Grimes in a matchup with Senator McConnell, while 42 percent supported the GOP incumbent.

The poll also reveals McConnell received just a 27-percent favorability rating. He still faces a primary battle against Republican Matt Bevin, who trails McConnell in the poll by 26 points.

Despite the poll results, McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore says the campaign is “very comfortable about where this race stands.” Grimes said she is “humbled” by the numbers.

Rand Paul Staffer Joins Matt Bevin Campaign

Jan 27, 2014

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul has joined Republican Matt Bevin's Senate campaign, saying the Louisville businessman is "the best man" in the race and offers needed change in his bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bernie Kunkel will be the Bevin campaign's field director in the 4th Congressional District, which includes the urban counties just south of Cincinnati and has become a hotbed of Tea Party activity.

Kunkel had been Paul's field representative in the sprawling 4th District in Northern Kentucky.

Kunkel, a veteran GOP activist in the region, has helped a slew of Republican candidates at the city, state and federal levels, and has been active in promoting anti-abortion and school choice causes.

A national conservative organization is endorsing the Tea Party challenger in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race.

FreedomWorks says it will invest as much as $500,000 to help Matt Bevin defeat Senator Mitch McConnell in this year’s Republican primary. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe was quoted by the Courier-Journal as saying his group believes Bevin is “an exceptional candidate” who has support from grassroots conservative activists across the commonwealth.

FreedomWorks champions candidates who say they want smaller government, and has earned a reputation for not being afraid to challenge established GOP lawmakers.

Bevin, a Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist, has attacked McConnell as a Washington insider who has betrayed conservatives by repeatedly voting to increase the debt ceiling.

McConnell has said he is confident he will win the GOP primary, and has a huge fundraising advantage over Bevin.

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