With the Kentucky primary election six weeks away supporters of Republican Matt Bevin believe the tea party-backed challenger to Mitch McConnell still has a chance to pull off an upset.
McConnell leads Bevin by double-digits in every poll and has brutalized his challenger in attack ads, calling him a “con man” and “fraud” in campaign materials.
A Wenzel Strategies survey shows McConnell’s negative attacks are working.
The internal poll found a majority of voters have no opinion on Bevin, and that his unfavorable rating is at 30 percent compared to 24 percent who view the Louisville businessman favorably.
But among the over 3,500 conservative activists and candidates who gathered in downtown Louisville this weekend as part of a FreedomWorks event, enthusiasm for Bevin remains solid.
“I think a lot of people are disappointed with what’s happened in Washington and Sen. McConnell’s been there for the last 30 years,” said Charlie Parson of Richmond, Ky. “When he was in leadership we had the White House and both branches of Congress for several years and we still racked up a huge debt. And he hasn’t done anything to help us as a nation to get things under control. I think we have to step out and choose someone like Matt Bevin.”
“I think it’s shameful what he’s doing,” said Debbie Parsons, also from of Richmond. “If (McConnell) can’t run on his record after all this time in office, is that what he fights for, using dirt and mud and things that are just manufactured? It’s shameful that somebody of his caliber can’t do better than that.”
There is a growing sense that McConnell’s victory in the GOP primary election is all but inevitable. But those in attendance counter Rand Paul was also considered a long-shot in the 2010 election.
Others told WFPL their candidate is the better choice for the GOP in the fall because Bevin leads likely Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in other polls.
Asked about the attacks regarding Bevin’s resume and signing a company letter supportive of the bank bailouts, many voters at FreePAC Kentucky dismissed those stories. Many said it is Bevin’s business acumen and ability to rebuild private companies that attracted them to his candidacy as an asset.
Others, such as Julia Martin of Boone County, said McConnell has comprised too much with Democrats, echoing Beck’s criticism that the GOP leader is a “much of a danger to this country as Barack Obama.”