Bevin gets endorsement
Also on Monday, the Madison Project, a national conservative group headed by former long-distance running star Jim Ryun, endorsed Bevin over McConnell.
In a statement issued by the group, Ryun said: “The only way to change the lackluster leadership in the Republican Party is to replace the career politicians who lead the party. Matt Bevin is brave enough to storm the castle of the GOP Establishment and challenge the sitting minority leader, and we are proud to stand with him and with millions of conservatives who feel disenfranchised by unprincipled GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell.”
Most political observers give Bevin little chance of beating McConnell, a task that Bevin in announcing he was running called “an uphill journey,” noting that no party’s Senate leader had ever been defeated in a primary.
Nevertheless, McConnell has witnessed established Republican allies in the Senate lose Republican primaries to tea party-backed insurgents, and saw Rand Paul beat McConnell’s candidate for Kentucky’s other Senate seat in the 2010 primary.
While McConnell and Paul are now allies, McConnell seems to take Bevin seriously, having already begun running a television ad against the Louisville businessman.
Also on Monday, Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson confirmed he has suspended party spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper for two weeks without pay following her DUI arrest over the weekend in Lexington.
Cooper almost daily sent reporters news releases questioning aspects of Grimes’ campaign or statements. With McConnell distracted by Bevin’s primary challenge, and Cooper’s absence for a couple of weeks, Grimes may get a little breathing room to organize her campaign.
Officially that starts Tuesday, although Grimes announced on July 1 in a hastily arranged press conference that she would run.
She is scheduled to speak to supporters at 5 p.m. in Lexington on Tuesday and will be joined by Gov. Steve Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and others.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.