In a rare moment for the 2015 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday spoke on behalf of his former intraparty rival Matt Bevin, endorsing him for Kentucky governor during the Fancy Farm picnic.
That said, McConnell didn’t spend much time on the task.
Of the five minutes he was allotted to speak Saturday, McConnell spent eight seconds talking about Bevin.
“If you want a candidate with better ideas, vote for Matt Bevin,” McConnell said in his speech.
After that, McConnell talked about his work leading the U.S. Senate. He also attacked President Obama and other Democrats.
“Because, my friends, there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Not a dimes worth of difference. And there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between either of them and Jack Conway,” McConnell said of the Democratic nominee for governor.
This spring, McConnell issued only a brief statement supporting Bevin for governor once the results were finalized in a tight Republican primary race, which Bevin won by 83 votes.
On Saturday, McConnell’s lack of enthusiastic support for Bevin was noticeable during the speech.
Fancy Farm emcee Matt Jones, of Kentucky Sports Radio fame, even joked about it right after McConnell wrapped up.
“I think that counts as an endorsement,” Jones said.
There has been a lot of speculation about how McConnell would treat Bevin following their nasty senate primary fight last year, during which the former launched a tea party-backed challenge against the longtime Kentucky senator. After McConnell’s Senate primary victory, Bevin famously didn’t endorse McConnell. The incident caused tension, which promised to make Bevin’s unexpected win in the gubernatorial Republican primary interesting.
Before the Fancy Farm picnic, McConnell and Bevin took pictures together at the annual Republican breakfast in an effort to show a united front.
Bevin is going to need as much support as possible as the governor’s race gets closer–and Republicans are gearing up for a tough fight. Recent polls show that Bevin and Conway are in a statistical dead heat.
(Featured photo credit: J. Tyler Franklin)