The Club for Growth on Wednesday said it is willing to back a primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCould bipartisanship rise with Trump government? Senate names part of Cures bill after Beau Biden Biden raises possibility of 2020 presidential bid MORE (R-Ky.), shortly after Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin entered the race.
“The Club’s PAC will watch Kentucky’s Senate race – as it would with any race – over the coming months to determine if our involvement is warranted," he added.
It's the first overt indication the Club has given that it would be willing to engage in the Kentucky Senate race to defeat McConnell, who has received criticism from conservative organizations in the past, including the Club.
McConnell has worked to shore up support from his right flank, gaining the endorsement of Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency The ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) and shifting to the right on policy issues in recent years.
But he retains a lifetime score of 74 percent on the Club's scorecard, and the group has continued to hammer him on various votes in the past few months. On Wednesday, Chocola also called for McConnell to sign a letter being circulated by Tea Party Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeSenate GOP: National museum should include Clarence Thomas Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Will Trump back women’s museum? MORE (R-Utah) pledging to defund ObamaCare.
Bevin's entry into the race was welcomed by a number of other conservative groups, two of which — the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project — indicated a willingness to support his candidacy.
Though McConnell remains vulnerable, according to polling that shows him unpopular in Kentucky, he's amassed a nearly $10-million war chest and hired a team of seasoned political consultants to aid his reelection fight.
Bevin will ultimately need financial and operational support from some of these conservative groups in order to orchestrate a credible challenge against McConnell.