Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to be able to sail through the upcoming primary season unimpeded by any challenge from within his own party, leaving him to face off with a full war chest against likely Democrat nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes. According to Kentucky newspapers, today that hope was snuffed.
Investment manager and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin of Louisville threw his hat into the ring with an announcement that he would take on "mud-slinging Mitch", a man he says is no longer in touch with what conservatives want.
While McConnell has aimed a continuous salvo of ads at Grimes that link her to President Obama's policies, Bevin does the same to McConnell accusing him of voting for higher taxes, bailouts, debt ceiling increases, congressional pay raises and liberal judges.
McConnell's modus operandi so far has been to use the considerable wealth at his disposal to level early attacks at anyone rumored to oppose him. He ran ads aimed at actress and activist Ashley Judd when she was considering a run against him. Then against Grimes long before she announced. And now, even before Bevin's announcement, McConnell leveled charges that the Louisville businessman received a $200,000 taxpayer bailout for companies he owns in Connecticut and said that Bevin did not pay taxes on them. The ads call him "Bailout Bevin".
Bevins denies any tax problems, and retorts that McConnell is from Alabama.
Grimes' campaign adviser, Jonathan Hurst, pointed out how quick McConnell was to attack Bevin.
"Kentuckians are frustrated by Mitch McConnell's lack of leadership, so it should be no surprise that he's turned to bullying members of his own party," Hurst said.
"This is simply the latest in McConnell's political games and demonstrates just how out of touch he is with Kentucky families."