Matt Bevin Misleading Voters About Relationship With Rand Paul, McConnell Campaign Says
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign says primary opponent Matt Bevin is misleading voters about his relationship with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul during the 2010 race.
It is the latest joust in the increasingly ugly GOP primary battle, with McConnell and Bevin putting their ties to Paul and his high-profile status at the center of the contest.Asked why Paul is endorsing McConnell in the 2014 primary, Bevin told The New York Times it's due to Paul's political aspirations.But Bevin added the two share the same principles and were somewhat close three years ago.From NY Times:
Unlike other establishment Republican senators, however, McConnell has been careful to forge a relationship with Paul, who remains a Tea Party favorite.McConnell's campaign is hoping to disavow any possible tie between Bevin and Paul along with any attempt to draw a parallel with their insurgent campaigns among voters and national donors.Doug Stafford is executive director of Rand PAC, who served as a senior adviser for Paul's campaign. He says it's hard for him to remember if Bevin was in attendance or not."There were dozens maybe even into the triple digits of people who came in and out of various rooms Rand was in that night, including his and other people's suites," says Stafford. "It was a bit crazy that night. I really couldn't tell you."In February, Paul told WFPL he hadn't spoken with Bevin about running against McConnell, though he did describe the Louisville businessman as a "supporter of mine." Federal election finance records show Bevin donated nearly $5,000 towards Paul's general election.Paul's office declined to make the senator available for an interview to clear up the matter, but other conservative activists in Kentucky who volunteered during the 2010 race defend Bevin's relationship with the Tea Party-affiliated senator."Matt Bevin was in Rand's suite after he won the general. I took him there. I was there with him," says Chris Derry, founder of the right-leaning Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.Regardless of Paul's endorsement of the GOP leader, Derry says, it isn't lost on voters that McConnell backed his establishment pupil Trey Grayson in the 2010 GOP primary."They do come from the same cloth, and I've been disappointed that Rand is siding with McConnell on this," Derry says. "The only thing I can discern from this is, is that he intends to run for president. That's the only thing that should interfere with Bevin and Paul collaborating, and I don't understand it."UPDATE 12:35 p.m.:Bevin sent a statement to WFPL responding to the McConnell campaign's assertion."Mitch McConnell will say anything to get re-elected, even when he knows it to be completely false," he says. "When you need to distract voters from a miserable record of voting for bailouts, tax hikes, and funding for Obamacare, I suppose all you have left is to lie about others. Desperation is unbecoming of a U.S. Senator."