Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Cruz-Aligned Group Endorses McConnell Challenger

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Conservatives Fund, a group Sen. Ted Cruz helped raise money for by appearing in an anti-Obamacare ad, has for the second time in two days endorsed a challenger to a Republican senator — this time the minority leader of the Senate.

The move was not surprising — the Jim DeMint-founded group announced Friday that it will support Louisville businessman Matt Bevin’s uphill primary battle against Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On Thursday, the SCF endorsed state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

The endorsements are the latest addition to an increasingly awkward position for Cruz, the Texas Republican who serves as a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports all incumbents, including McConnell.

The SCF and Bevin both slammed McConnell on Wednesday, after he helped craft a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to reopen the government, which was shut down for more than two weeks in part because of Cruz’s fruitless effort to defund the president’s health care law. The conservative group said in a statement that it believes Bevin would join Cruz in that fight if elected.

“He is not afraid to stand up to the establishment, and he will do what it takes to stop Obamacare,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said.

The group aired TV ads on Cruz’s behalf in 2012, when he won the GOP primary and went on to win an open seat. But it also supported then-Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who lost one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities last year against Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

The McConnell campaign referenced that in its response to the endorsement.

“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,” McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said.

The primary winner will likely go on to face Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election.

  • Jesse4

    Sic ’em! Get them no-good RHINOs!
    They win elections too easy for my (Democrat) liking.

  • Steffen Schmidt

    Ha HA. ! Cruz serves as a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Democrats are popping champagne tonight. As Bugs said “what a buncha maroons!”

  • Jazzboy1

    Remember all the naysayers that said Alison Lundergan Grimes had a snowball’s chance in hell? Well, those pessimists were certainly premature. Even if Bevin loses he helps to deplete McConnell’s huge war chest from being used entirely in the general election. Hopefully a Libertarian candidate will get on the ballot to siphon off disgruntled Bevin conservatives from McConnell.

    Senator McCaskill of Missouri actually helped Akin win the GOP primary because she knew he could be beaten… a lot like GOP operatives did that got Ralph Nader’s petitions signed to get him on the Presidential ballot in Florida in 2000.

    Oh yeah, Booker’s win gives the Democrats ia better majority of 55 in the Senate leading into 2014.

    Three weeks from now I get to vote for McAuliffe-Northam-Herring against the crazies Cuccinelli-Jackson-Obenshain! There’s a Libertarian candidate in the race taking more votes from Cuccinelli than McAuliffe.

  • Cecil

    Cruz’ s endorsements should make it easy for Republican voters in the primaries. Just vote for the other guy.

  • tpartynitwit

    Naturally Tedious Ted, The Nudnik of the North, will acknowledge no conflict between the diametrically opposed goals of the NRSC and the SCF. All he knows is his dual and mutually exclusive roles provide more fodder for his pet cause, media attention for Ted Cruz. “LOOK AT ME! NO, SERIOUSLY! LOOK AT ME!” –I’m Ted Cruz, and I approve this message.

  • Patricia Leath

    McConnelle is an embarrassment to this nation. He sells out to Reid and gets a kick back for his State. This is insanity. He has lots of money to use for his champagne…does that mean he is buying votes?

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    In many ways, liberty is an adaptation to our own individual ignorance and the uncertainty associated with future events & circumstances.

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