Bevin - McConnell joint appearance fails to materialize - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin - McConnell joint appearance fails to materialize

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ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Conventional wisdom says Republican Matt Bevin needs to heal his rift with Sen. Mitch McConnell if he has a chance to win the governor's race this year.

But a chance for the two to publicly bury the hatchet Tuesday never happened.

Sen. McConnell appeared before the Hardin Co. Rotary Club in Elizabethtown. Matt Bevin was also scheduled to be there, but canceled.

McConnell's office announced Tuesday morning that he would be speaking at the Rotary Club. The same event had been on Matt Bevin's schedule since last week.

But if this was to be an opportunity for McConnell and Bevin to publicly embrace following last year's bruising U.S. Senate primary, it never happened. Bevin canceled.

Campaign manager Ben Hartman told WDRB that Bevin was accidentally double-booked, and that he was holding a private meeting with Congressman Andy Barr and several state legislators. Neither Hartman nor Barr spokesman Rick VanMeter would say where and when that meeting was taking place.

McConnell will not say whether he and Bevin have even spoken since the primary.

“Look, guys, I'm going to support the nominee just as soon as we know who that is,” McConnell told reporters.

Bevin, of course, is not yet the official nominee. James Comer, who finished 83 votes behind, will get a recanvass on Thursday.

Longtime GOP activist James Weise believes Bevin will likely emerge the winner and needs to reach out to his rivals, including McConnell.

“If you can't do that, in my opinion, you're doomed. Everybody needs to come together,” said Weise.

McConnell will also now not appear at the party's unity event on Saturday in Lexington.

The Majority Leader has called the Senate into a rare Sunday session to vote on the expiring Patriot Act.

“If I were not the Majority Leader of the Senate, I could probably wait until Sunday to go back. But I'm responsible for the schedule, I'm responsible for the Sunday session. Nothing should be read into that in terms of my interest in the governor's race or any other race this fall,” said McConnell.

Bottom line, any public sign that McConnell and Bevin have come together will have to wait.

“I have no reason to expect the party won't be unified, and we'll find out as we move forward,” said McConnell.

“What's the alternative? Jack Conway? Come on!” said Weise.

Democrat Jack Conway, meanwhile, campaigned in northern Kentucky, which heavily supported Bevin in the primary.

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