Louisville businessman Matt Bevin announced his plans Wednesday to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Kentucky Senate race.
Mr. Bevin said he is running because he is tired of Mr. McConnell talking “a big conservative game, but then constantly work to undermine conservatives when it really counts.”
“I know you are as fed up with McConnell’s empty promises and cheap talk as I am, so I am asking you to stand with me as we defeat Mitch McConnell. We need real fighters and real conservatives. McConnell is neither a fighter nor a conservative. I am both,” Mr. Bevin said on his campaign website.
The McConnell re-election campaign launched a preemptive strike before Mr. Bevin made his official announcement in Frankfort, welcoming him to the race with a television commercial that highlights the struggles Mr. Bevin had overseeing a Connecticut-based manufacturing business.
The ad labels him “Bailout Bevin” and accuses him of taking a $200,000 taxpayer bailout after not paying taxes.
“Bevin’s company failed to pay taxes, then got a taxpayer bailout,” the McConnell campaign ad says. “Bailout Bevin: Not a Kentucky conservative.”
Mr. Bevin countered in a spot of his own.
“Mitch McConnell has had a long career in politics, but after 30 years in Washington is his leadership the best that we can do?” Mr. Bevin asks in an ad.
The narrator in the 30-second spot says that Mr. McConnell supported higher taxes, bailouts, debt ceiling increases, congressional pay raises, and liberal judges.
“I am Matt Bevin, and I approve this message because America deserve more than failed leadership,” Mr. Bevin says. “We can do better.”
Mr. Bevin is a political newcomer, but local tea party groups have already pledged to support his candidacy, saying he is cut from the same cloth as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Surround by his wife, Glenna, and his nine children, four of whom are adopted, Mr. Bevin acknowledged that he is the underdog in the race, as he kicked off a multi-stop campaign kickoff tour around the state.
As part of his roll out, Mr. Bevin introduced himself to voters in a Web video, saying that he grew up on in an old farm house, making do with no shower and one bathroom that he shared with six of his siblings. He also said he served in the military.