LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A big development today in the race for Mitch McConnell's U.S. Senate seat. There's a new Tea Party candidate from Louisville, Matt Bevin, who wants to take his job.
McConnell knew he would face a strong challenge from the left. Now, he also has to fight off an attack from the right.
"Clearly our current leaders have failed us. And that it why we're here today," said Bevin in the State Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.
Surrounded by his wife and 9 children, and dozens of supporters, Matt Bevin kicked off what he admits will be a longshot campaign.
Bevin is Louisville businessman and member of the Tea Party. And he accuses McConnell of being an elitist, who has not been conservative enough.
"After 30 years in Washington, Mitch McConnell no longer represents what we believe here in Kentucky. He has lost touch with our state, with our people and with our values," he said.
Bevin says he rejected efforts from McConnell campaign to keep him out of the race. And knows he will not have much support from the Republican establishment.
"He's a nice man, and I respect him. But this is the wrong race at the wrong time. Why? Because Mitch McConnell is the strongest Republican in the country. We don't need to replace him with a rookie," said State Sen. Damon Thayer, the Minority Leader from Georgetown.
"It's not that I'm turning against McConnell. I like Mr. Bevin's private sector experience," said Jenean Hampton, chair of the Bowling Green Tea Party.
The McConnell campaign has already launched an ad blitz against Bevin, accusing him of being a tax dodger.
"Bevin's company failed to pay taxes then got a taxpayer bailout. Bailout Bevin. Not a Kentucky conservative," said part of the ad.
"That is an absolute false statement," said Bevin. "But I have come to expect as much over the last 30 years from mudslinging Mitch."
Bevin, who is independently wealthy, has purchased ads of his own.
"McConnell has voted for higher taxes, bailouts, debt ceiling increases, congressional pay raises, and liberal judges," claimed the Bevin ad.
Bevin says he's prepared to spend whatever it takes to win.
"And with the support of we the people, we will have the kind of money needed to send Mitch McConnell back to the private sector for the first time in his life," he said.
Democrats, including Alison Lundergan Grimes, have already issued statements saying the Bevin challenge is an example of what they call McConnell's failed leadership.
They hope, if nothing else, the primary race will force McConnell to spend money, and soften him up for the fall.
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