FRANKFORT Judged by the usual political campaign measuring sticks, Matt Bevin’s prospects to take down incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell in next May’s Republican primary don’t look too promising.
Bevin, the Louisville investment manager, is far behind in fundraising and publicly released polls. McConnell has raised $17.7 million with $10 million of that in the bank while Bevin reported raising only $822,000, $600,000 of it from his own pocket. A July poll by Wenzel Strategies, a Republican pollster, showed Bevin behind by as much as 40 points.
No matter, says Bevin.
“Things are good. Honestly, the path (to winning) gets wider every day,” he said. “From the beginning, there was a path to victory that was driven by people’s desire for an alternative (to McConnell) and the path has just gotten wider and wider and wider.”
Bevin doesn’t have any polling to back that up. Instead, he talks about the reception he gets from groups he talks to.
Those who come, Bevin said, often come out of curiosity, “not used to people who will sit and talk to them for two or three straight hours and answer their questions.”
Bevin is often inclined to sit and engage a table of prospective voters in lengthy conversation about issues that drive him: federal spending and the national debt. He accuses McConnell of switching positions on immigration, failing to take a stand on military action against Syria until the question was decided and failing to fight continued funding of the Affordable Care Act.
But it won’t be easy to deliver those messages to the larger population, given the funding disparity between the two campaigns.
“I mean, we will never have the kind of money (McConnell) has,” concedes Bevin. “But we will have the money we need to execute the ground game we need to turn out the votes we need to win.”