The group that brought you the effort to defund ObamaCare, or the Senate Conservatives Fund, will back primary challenger Matt Bevin over Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We know that winning this primary won’t be easy. Mitch McConnell has the support of the entire Washington establishment and he will do anything to hold on to power,” the groups head Matt Hoskins, said in an email.
Senate Conservatives Fund recently sent out a poll to supporters in an email during the effort known as Don’t Fund It, when they gathered over 2 million signatures from Americans all over the country in support of Sen. Ted Cruz R-TX. The survey asked whether or not respondents would like to see Senate Conservatives Fund back Matt Bevin over Mitch McConnell, who refused to pledge that he would either defund ObamaCare or oppose the cloture vote, the vote that mattered in the end.
The results of the survey, they claim, showed over 90 percent of respondents believed that the group should support Bevin over McConnell. I personally know of 12 conservative activists who did not, though that may mean nothing.
The move puts the organization at odds with other Tea Party favorites from the past, both Sens. Rand Paul — also from KY — and Florida’s Marco Rubio, who have endorsed Mitch McConnell for the Kentucky Senate race.
The groups has had mixed success endorsing lesser-known, whom they perceive to be more conservative candidates. In 2012 Senate Conservatives backed Sen. Ted Cruz over Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Texas GOP primary, and supported Indiana candidate Richard Mourdock and Missouri candidate Todd Akin in the general election. Their 2010 endorsements include Sen. Mike Lee of Utah who unseated incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett, and failed Colorado GOP candidate Ken Buck.
Mitch McConnell has taken the endorsement — at least publicly — with a grain of salt, and poured that salt in open political wounds.
“Matt Bevin now has the dubious honor of standing with a self-serving D.C. fundraising group that made its name by recruiting and promoting unelectable candidates that ensured Barack Obama a majority in the Senate,” spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement. “They clearly care less about Kentuckians than they do about their reputation for supporting laughably bad candidates.”
McConnell has been trailing in recent polling against the likely Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes by an already-tightening 45 – 43 percent margin. She had been leading McConnell by 40 – 47 percent, which I argued earlier is the ceiling of support for Democratic candidates in Kentucky. It would seem that McConnell will have to worry more about his right flank than his left flank in his bid for reelection.