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 U.S. Senate Majority Leader is making some jokes at the expense of Kentucky’s senior Senator.
Democrat Harry Reid, speaking Monday at a gathering of the pro-Obama group, Organizing for Action, said Mitch McConnell "tried to make love to the tea party, and they didn’t like it.”
Reid and McConnell have been at odds recently over the GOP’s use of filibusters to prevent some of President Obama’s executive branch nominees from receiving confirmation votes.
Reid’s comments about the Tea Party and McConnell come as speculation mounts about a possible Republican primary challenge against the GOP Senate leader. Some in the Tea Party have criticized McConnell for not being sufficiently conservative on fiscal issues.
Democrats are responding to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s criticism of President Obama regarding veterans’ disability claims. Speaking Monday in Louisville at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, McConnell said the backlog of more than 816-thousand disabled veterans who are seeking benefits is a “national disgrace.”
Kentucky’s senior Senator said the President should get involved to clear the medical claims backlog, adding “veterans should be able to count on their commander in chief.”
But the Courier-Journal reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly shot back at the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, saying that McConnell’s obstructionism is to blame for the problem. The group pointed out McConnell voted against a V.A. appropriations bill that included a plan to address the heavy backlog of veterans’ medical claims.
According to Congressional Quarterly, McConnell was one of six Republican Senators to vote against a House measure that included funding designed to clear the backlog.
A spokesman for McConnell says money isn’t the issue, pointing out that the V.A’s funding has increased 40% over the past four years.
A Super PAC supporting Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is about to go on the air with TV ads targeting Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The group Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has purchased $270,000 in ads that are set to debut Friday in several markets, including Bowling Green, Louisville, and Evansville.
Politico reports that a source says the ads will be aimed at defining Grimes in negative terms, as the Secretary of State tries to get her Senate campaign up and running. McConnell is considered one of the top targets for Democrats during next year’s election cycle.
Grimes is the highest-profile Democrat to announce a challenge to McConnell next year, but her campaign has gotten off to a rocky start. Her July 1 announcement declaring her Senate candidacy was largely panned by analysts as disorganized and underwhelming, and since joining the race Grimes has been largely unseen in public.
She announced Wednesday that her Senate campaign would have an official launch July 30.