Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could see a primary challenge from local businessman Matt Bevin, who sources say is reaching out to Tea Party groups in the state to gauge support for a 2014 Senate run, reports The Hill.
Sarah Duran, president of the Louisville Tea Party, told The Hill that Bevin had been in touch with her over the phone to discuss his run multiple times over the past few weeks, and that he met with the group two weeks ago to discuss his interest in the race.
McConnell brought former Ron Paul adviser Jesse Benton to manage his campaign, in an attempt to head off just such a challenge. What McConnell may not have realized is that Benton was not popular among many grassroots RP supporters. Benton once, apparently fearing for his life, wore a bullet proof vest to a meeting with them.
Since taking over the McConnell campaign, he has irritated many Tea Party activists by sending out emails portraying McConnell as one of them, despite McConnell's many anti-liberty positions. The Tea Party has not been fooled.
In January, Kentucky.com reported:
Tea Party groups in the state are so dissatisfied with McConnell that "we are working on a battle plan with the ultimate goal to retire him next year," said John T. Kemper III of Lexington, a spokesman for the group.
Kemper's comment came a day after the group, which describes itself as a roundtable of leaders from more than a dozen Tea Party groups in Kentucky, issued a news release warning McConnell that "we will not allow our message or movement to be co-opted for political purposes."