McConnell coasts to victory in Kentucky primary

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have appeared vulnerable to a challenge from his right a few months ago, but after spending $11 million and seeing his opponent Mark Bevin committ several unforced errors, the man that Republicans like to hate won going away.

New York Times:

One of the main lessons emerging from the young primary season is that political fundamentals like candidate strength, fund-raising and incumbency remain paramount, even in an era of deep dissatisfaction with Washington. That Mr. McConnell, 72, so easily defeated Mr. Bevin in Kentucky underscored that point.

Mr. McConnell spent over $11 million of the nearly $22 million he has stockpiled to cast himself as an effective conservative and to attack Mr. Bevin, who had never run for office before.

Mr. Bevin criticized Mr. McConnell for having been in Washington too long, but Mr. McConnell emphasized what his 30 years in the Senate meant for Kentucky and what benefits the state would receive if he became the Senate majority leader after the election this fall.

Mr. McConnell’s wide margin of victory was no surprise; he had been leading in the polls for months. But his aides were quick to note that the threat from Mr. Bevin had been real. He raised over $3.3 million, the most of any candidate who has taken on an incumbent senator during the rise of the Tea Party in the last two election cycles.

With an eye on controlling the Senate in 2015, Mr. McConnell has made no secret of his determination to send a message this year to hard-line conservatives by defeating them in primaries. “I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” he predicted in a March interview.

But as he works to consolidate power in the Senate, Mr. McConnell must first unify the Republican Party in Kentucky and ensure that Mr. Bevin’s supporters do not stay home this November. Ms. Grimes, the secretary of state, who has already raised over $8 million, faced no primary opposition and has devoted months to hammering the incumbent as the personification of Washington gridlock.

Mr. McConnell will do so while carrying dismal approval numbers in Kentucky: A New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found that 52 percent of Kentucky voters disapproved of his performance and just 40 percent approved of his performance.

As far as charming Mr. Bevin's opponents into turning out for him in November, McConnell will find the going slow. As those approval numbers indicate, Mitch McConnell is the least popular - besides being the least effective - Republican in the Senate .But because McConnell has so much cash on hand and will raise another $5-7 million before election day, it's still his race to lose. That, and the millstone of Obamacare may be enough to help the minority leader across the finish line.

The 72-year old may yet have one more successful race in him.

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have appeared vulnerable to a challenge from his right a few months ago, but after spending $11 million and seeing his opponent Mark Bevin committ several unforced errors, the man that Republicans like to hate won going away.

New York Times:

One of the main lessons emerging from the young primary season is that political fundamentals like candidate strength, fund-raising and incumbency remain paramount, even in an era of deep dissatisfaction with Washington. That Mr. McConnell, 72, so easily defeated Mr. Bevin in Kentucky underscored that point.

Mr. McConnell spent over $11 million of the nearly $22 million he has stockpiled to cast himself as an effective conservative and to attack Mr. Bevin, who had never run for office before.

Mr. Bevin criticized Mr. McConnell for having been in Washington too long, but Mr. McConnell emphasized what his 30 years in the Senate meant for Kentucky and what benefits the state would receive if he became the Senate majority leader after the election this fall.

Mr. McConnell’s wide margin of victory was no surprise; he had been leading in the polls for months. But his aides were quick to note that the threat from Mr. Bevin had been real. He raised over $3.3 million, the most of any candidate who has taken on an incumbent senator during the rise of the Tea Party in the last two election cycles.

With an eye on controlling the Senate in 2015, Mr. McConnell has made no secret of his determination to send a message this year to hard-line conservatives by defeating them in primaries. “I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” he predicted in a March interview.

But as he works to consolidate power in the Senate, Mr. McConnell must first unify the Republican Party in Kentucky and ensure that Mr. Bevin’s supporters do not stay home this November. Ms. Grimes, the secretary of state, who has already raised over $8 million, faced no primary opposition and has devoted months to hammering the incumbent as the personification of Washington gridlock.

Mr. McConnell will do so while carrying dismal approval numbers in Kentucky: A New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found that 52 percent of Kentucky voters disapproved of his performance and just 40 percent approved of his performance.

As far as charming Mr. Bevin's opponents into turning out for him in November, McConnell will find the going slow. As those approval numbers indicate, Mitch McConnell is the least popular - besides being the least effective - Republican in the Senate .But because McConnell has so much cash on hand and will raise another $5-7 million before election day, it's still his race to lose. That, and the millstone of Obamacare may be enough to help the minority leader across the finish line.

The 72-year old may yet have one more successful race in him.

 

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