The Washington Times - September 5, 2013, 10:24AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rival in the Kentucky Republican primary said the incumbent’s reluctance to take a stand on President Obama’s push for military strikes against Syria underscores the lack of leadership he has shown on multiple fronts.

Matt Bevin, a wealthy Louisville businessman running to oust Mr. McConnell, said Thursday on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” that he “adamantly” opposes military action.

SEE RELATED: Syria war plan advances in Senate, pushes Obama to help rebels

“We have absolutely no business being there,” Mr. Bevin said. “What would be the purpose? We have made it clear that we don’t intend for there to be regime change, and yet we going to launch missiles into a country, rearrange their infrastructure, kill people — many of them will be innocent people. For what purpose? What is the military purpose? What is the end goal?”

Mr. Bevin is among several GOP primary challengers who have pounced on their opponents’ silence on the military strike in hopes of injecting more energy into their campaigns.

Mr. McConnell says he wants more information from the Obama administration before he makes a decision on whether to support a strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens last month.

Mr. McConnell is favored to win the primary race and move on to face Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, in the general election. 

Mr. Bevin also dismissed the notion that he is running as a tea party candidate, saying he is running as a Republican in a Republican primary.

“I have never been a member of the tea party,” he said. “I never went to any tea party meetings. I am fiscally very much like-minded, and grateful for and appreciative of the support of anybody no matter what group they are from.”

Mr. Bevin has been endorsed by the Madison Project, a conservative fundraising group led by former Rep. Jim Ryun of Kansas, as well as a number of local tea party groups in Kentucky.

Mr. McConnell, meanwhile, has been endorsed by national branches of the grass-roots movement, including and Tea Party Nation.