Although most polls are showing that the 2014 Kentucky midterm Senate race is going to be between incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and actress Ashley Judd, a new turn of events may lead to the ousting of McConnell in the GOP primary next year.
In an unlikely, liberal activists and donors are joining forces with Tea Party groups hoping to make McConnell vulnerable enough prior to the primaries that another candidate is able to take his seat.
For their part, it won’t be too difficult trying to make McConnell vulnerable to a GOP primary loss seeing that he already is the most unpopular senator in the nation. The goal is to show McConnell as a corrupt insider — and the fact that he recently contributed $80,000 to the Kentucky GOP through his wife Elaine Chao — surely doesn’t help his cause.
Progress Kentucky, which is pushing to align itself with Tea Party groups, is supporting Matt Bevin, a 46-year-old investment management adviser who believes he can help the Tea Party send a more moderate image.The group has also shown an interest in challenging McConnell.
“Tea party, Beer party. Doesn’t matter — as long as he’s challenging Mitch McConnell, we’re not gonna hate,” Progress Kentucky wrote on their Facebook page.
However, although liberals and ultra-conservatives are seeing eye-to-eye now, it’s important to note that their long-term goals are vastly different.
The liberal’s main idea is to watch the Kentucky GOP primary voters nominate a weaker candidate that they can ultimately beat. Or, make McConnell vulnerable enough by exposing more information about him by the general elections in Kentucky that they are able to maintain a victory regardless. With a Democratic voter registration advantage, they’re probably hoping it won’t be too difficult a feat.
The Tea Party, however, is seeking to find a candidate who can beat McConnell during the primary elections, and then beat the Democrat opposition during the general elections.
“I guess the fear would be ending up in the Dick Lugar situation, where you oust the incumbent and end up with a Democrat,” said Sarah Durand, president of the Louisville Tea Party. “But I really think if Sen. McConnell can’t garner some enthusiasm within the tea party, which is going to be very difficult at this point, then he’s going to have a really tough road ahead in this election cycle.”
It also looks like actress Ashley Judd, who is lagging behind McConnell in polls by nine points, could have a shot at winning the race if the liberal/Tea Party hybrid plan pans out.