- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2013

Big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky are throwing their support behind the tea party against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Should a more right-wing candidate challenge Mr. McConnell in 2014, Democrats have vowed to throw big money into the challenger’s campaign.

Politico speculates the unlikely team is due to Democrats hoping Kentucky GOP primary voters will nominate the 2014 version of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, which would help the left, given the candidates’ strict conservative views on social issues.

“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state,” said Keith Rouda, a field organizer with MoveOn and Progress Kentucky. “What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”

Louisville Tea Party president Sarah Durand said Democrats would be willing to spend seven figures in a GOP primary to help Mr. McConnell’s challenger.

“I guess the fear would be ending up in the Dick Lugar situation where you oust the incumbent and end up with a Democrat,” Miss Durand said. “But I really think if Sen. McConnell can’t garner some enthusiasm within the tea party, which is going to be very difficult at this point, then he’s going to have a really tough road ahead in this election cycle.”

Despite Mr. McConnell’s continued efforts to curry favor with local tea party groups, some positions he has taken during his five terms in office — supporting the 2008 Wall Street bailout, his central role in cutting the fiscal cliff deal with Democrats — continue to irk ultra-conservatives.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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