Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 4:11 am
Republican dreams of a U.S. Senate takeover have been shattered in recent elections by a collection of "unelectable" nominees — the term of art used by political pros to refer to not-ready-for-prime-time candidates whose extreme views doomed their chances with mainstream voters.
There was Delaware's Christine "I'm Not A Witch" O'Donnell, and Nevada's Sharron "Some Latinos Look More Asian To Me" Angle in 2010.
Last year's contests starred Indiana's Richard "Rape Pregnancies Are A Gift From God" Mourdock, and Missouri's Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.
Democratic Senate front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes has portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as being a chief Republican obstructionist as the rivals shared the spotlight at Kentucky's premier political event.
Grimes, Kentucky's 34-year-old Secretary of State, accused McConnell of being a part of the "disease of dysfunction" in Washington, and blocking legislation just to spite the White House.
"If doctors told Senator McConnell he had a kidney stone, he'd refuse to pass it," said Grimes.
McConnell touted his Senate leadership and ignored Grimes, aiming his criticism at President Barack Obama. Both candidates in next year's Senate race spoke at the Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday in western Kentucky.
McConnell told a raucous crowd that Obama's health-care law is a "disaster", and said he will focus his campaign on the damage the President's policies are having in the Bluegrass State.
Though the election isn't until next year, the campaign is in full swing. TV ads have been running for weeks already.
One of the Fancy Farm organizers, Mark Wilson, said Bevin was confirmed as a speaker after he announced his candidacy on Wednesday. Two of Kentucky's highest-profile Democrats, Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, won't attend the event.
The political speeches are part of a church picnic that doubles as a fundraiser for St. Jerome Parish. The annual event typically draws some 10,000 people and generates about $250,000.
Political newcomer Matt Bevin has declared the time has come for Kentucky voters to oust Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.
Bevin criticized McConnell at a Frankfort press conference Wednesday for being a part of "the politics of failure" for nearly three decades. And Bevin offered himself as the alternative, describing himself as a man of the people, having grown up in a farmhouse with wood stoves for heat, a garden for vegetables, and land that provided assorted animals for meat, milk and eggs.
The Louisville investment adviser charged that McConnell "has lost touch with our state, its people and our values."
Meanwhile, the McConnell campaign released a new TV ad charging that Bevin accepted a $200,000 taxpayer bailout for companies he owns in Connecticut. The ad calls him "Bailout Bevin."
Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is trying to reach out to Tea Party groups as he seeks another six-year term in Washington.
Mitch McConnell needs to shore up support on the Republican right in order to fend off a primary challenge next year. Sen. McConnell knew he would have a challenge from Democrats in 2014. What he was hoping to avoid was a primary challenge from a fellow Republican.
But that’s exactly what he has now, following Louisville investment advisor Matt Bevin’s entrance into the race. Bevin is officially announcing Wednesday that he will seek the GOP Senate nomination, creating a primary fight for McConnell.
McConnell isn't taking the news lying down.
Politico reports McConnell played host to the Tea Party caucus Tuesday in Washington, at a celebration honoring the birthday of former Senator Bob Dole. McConnell has had a strained relationship with the Tea Party, at first largely ignoring the movement, and then trying to mend fences when the Tea Party showed it had become a major powerbroker within the GOP.
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.