Tea Party favorite confirms interest in McConnell's seat

Matt Bevin, a potential Tea Party challenger to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), confirmed on Tuesday that he has met with groups in Kentucky about launching a Senate bid, but has not made a final decision.

"As a point of clarification, Matt has made no final decision with respect to this race. He has, however, met in recent weeks with various individuals and groups who have expressed their frustration with their current representation in Washington DC and have encouraged him to consider entering the race," reads an email sent "on behalf of Matt Bevin" by Amy Lowe.

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Lowe is listed as operations manager at Waycross Partners, the investment firm at which Bevin is an adviser.

"These meetings, together with the recent reaction to the possibility of a primary race, have served to reaffirm the general sense of political disenchantment among many voters in Kentucky that has been widely reflected in recent articles and polls," she wrote.

The Hill reported Monday that Bevin had been in touch with local Tea Party leaders about potentially launching a bid.

Sarah Duran, president of the Louisville Tea Party, told The Hill that Bevin had been in touch with her over the phone to discuss his run multiple times over the past few weeks, and that he met with the group two weeks ago to discuss his interest in the race.

"We met with him to just discuss our feelings about the Senator, our feelings about someone running against him, what the challenges would be, the risks involved," she said.

Lowe's email said that Bevin is unavailable to discuss his plans further, as he's currently in Ethiopia working on humanitarian projects, "one involving security at orphanages and one related to improving the quality of veterinary science in that country," and will later travel to Istanbul, Turkey, for a conference.

But the email indicates Bevin will continue to explore interest in his potential bid, and asks for feedback via email.

"In the days ahead, he intends to continue listening to his fellow Kentuckians in order to better understand their concerns. In this way he will ultimately be able to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to enter this race," Lowe wrote.

Bevin is the owner of Bevin Brothers Manufacturing, a Connecticut bell-making company founded 160 years ago. He previously worked as CEO of Integrity Asset Management, an investment management firm with offices in Kentucky, and serves as a partner and adviser to Waycross.

His personal wealth would be an advantage running against McConnell, who has more than $7 million cash on hand and is is actively fundraising in preparation for 2014.

Going into 2014, however, Kentuckians involved in both Democratic and Republican politics believe McConnell could be vulnerable to challenges.

A recent survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling revealed him to be the least popular senator in the nation, and a poll from Republican firm Harper Polling showed one prominent potential Democratic contender, actress Ashley Judd, just 9 percentage points behind him.

Tea Party groups, too, have long been mulling a challenge to McConnell, and have yet to find a challenger, but Duran expressed optimism about Bevin's chances in a primary.

"I think he would be a very formidable candidate. I think that he would have a chance of possibly beating McConnell in the primary. He knows that we like him and we think he's great," she said.