A duo of conservative candidates will descend on Kentucky to appear with Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) challenger, Matt Bevin, just two months out from his primary.
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) primary challenger, and California Republican House candidate Igor Birman, running for Rep. Ami Bera’s (D) seat, will both appear at FreePAC Kentucky, a conservative event FreedomWorks is hosting in Louisville on April 5. The group has endorsed all three candidates.
Bevin has struggled to gain traction in his primary against McConnell, despite the senator’s low popularity and Bevin’s near-sweep of conservative endorsements. The most recent survey, conducted for a group backing McConnell, showed Bevin picking up about a quarter of the GOP primary vote.
He and his supporters insist once they’re able to spread their message they’ll gain some ground. So far, Bevin hasn’t launched any significant television advertising, relying primarily on radio ads and 15-second TV spots.
His newest radio ad, out Tuesday, outlines McConnell’s “resume,” as though the senator is sitting for a job interview. It cites his votes for the financial bailout, charges that he’s lived “nearly 50 years ... on the taxpayer dime” and “voted for billions and billions in wasteful spending, including the Bridge to Nowhere.”
“Senator McConnell, thanks for your time, but the voters of Kentucky are looking for an actual conservative, not one who pretends to be once every six years,” the narrator concludes.
A national conservative gathering in his own backyard could further help him boost his profile.
McDaniel, meanwhile, appears to be one of a very few conservative success stories this cycle.
He’s received the endorsement of every national conservative group that has weighed in on the race — including the Club for Growth, which is pointedly sitting out of the Kentucky race — and is given the best odds by most political observers of any primary challenger of taking down the incumbent.
Still, the establishment is rallying around Cochran. He's been aided by an outside group supported by former Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and just picked up the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. NRA Chairman Chris Cox touted his seniority and experience, which McDaniel is working to make a liability for Cochran in the primary, as part of the reason behind the group's endorsement.
“You prevented taxpayer funds from being used for gun control and anti-gun studies, while also cutting red tape for law abiding gun owners adversely impacted by arbitrary policies put in place by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms," Cox said in the endorsement.