Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 23, 2014

McConnell Primary Challenger Vows ‘Expensive Race’ (Video)

The candidate: Businessman Matt Bevin, a Republican
The member: Bevin is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The state: Kentucky hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992 or for president since 1996, but McConnell is the top target of national Democrats in 2014. The general election is rated Republican Favored by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Cold Spark Media is doing media and general consulting.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin’s candidacy added another challenge for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election to a sixth term. As the top target of national Democrats, the Kentucky Republican is also working to hold off Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the likely Democratic nominee.

On one side, McConnell is being hit for being an “obstructionist” in the Senate. But at the same time, Bevin, who announced his bid in July, says McConnell isn’t obstructionist enough.

McConnell has lifetime vote ratings of at least 90 percent with groups like the American Conservative Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But Bevin mentions issues such as health care, immigration and bank bailouts as examples of where McConnell’s conservatism comes up short. Meanwhile, McConnell released a radio ad on Monday that targeted Grimes on the health care law.

“I’m a fiscal conservative and I am somebody who will vote as I speak, not like him,” Bevin said.

Of course, taking on the top Senate Republican in the primary will not be easy, and Bevin has already faced attacks. McConnell is one of the most well-prepared incumbents of the cycle, with nearly $10 million in cash on hand by the end of June.

“This will be an expensive race,” Bevin conceded. “There isn’t an amount of money he can’t and won’t raise.” Bevin, who could also at least partially self-fund, added that he’ll raise “what is needed to win this.”

This series questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. Responses and questions in the video have been edited and condensed. Have a question for a candidate? Follow us at @RollCallPols to learn about upcoming interviews.

Previous candidate interviews:

  • actionsspeaklouder

    GO MATT! Come on Kentucky – get rid of Manipulator Mitch. He has betrayed conservatives over and over again. Retire him – he’s a liar and a RINO.

  • Jesse4

    Sic ‘em Beavin, soften up The Turtle for Grimes!

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