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Bevin blames McConnell for GOP disunity, hoping for support

Bevin blames McConnell for GOP disunity, hoping for support

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 1:10 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Ignoring polls and pundits which give him little chance of upsetting five-term incumbent Mitch McConnell in Tuesday's Republican primary election in Kentucky, U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin on Monday night hedged on whether he would support McConnell in the event Bevin loses the primary, blaming McConnell campaign tactics for disunity in the party.

Bevin, however, expressed hope that McConnell would support his bid after the primary.

"I don't know why he wouldn't," Bevin told WHAS11.  "I've always voted for him in the past. I've always supported him when he was the candidate."

And if the fortunes are reversed and McConnell wins the primary?

"That's just crazy talk," Bevin said to the laughter and applause of volunteers at his Middletown campaign headquarters.

"I will say this, I will -- I've never supported a Democrat over a Republican in any race," Bevin continued.  "I don't intend to start on this race or any time in any other race in the foreseeable future."


"And, we'll cross whatever bridges we need to cross when the vote is tallied tomorrow night," Bevin said.

McConnell has said be would support the Republican nominee.


Bevin trailed McConnell by 20 points, 55 percent to 35 percent in the most recent WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll released four days before the primary election.

Though the 35 percent thresh hold is on the high end of other non-partisan polling in the race, Bevin's campaign pointed to a partisan poll released on Monday by Human Events/Gravis Marketing which showed a narrower lead for McConnell, 48 percent to 34 percent.

"After spending over $10 million, McConnell has seen his lead drop by double digits in recent weeks," said Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand.  "He's now dangerously under 50 percent and we have the momentum in the closing days.

That poll of the GOP primary, however, included Democrat and independent voters.  Only Republicans are allowed to vote in Republican primaries in Kentucky.

"My job is to beat him tomorrow," Bevin said, "and if we don't, I don't know how he wins in November when he's divided his own party as much as he has."

The McConnell campaign has labeled Bevin as an "east coast con man," citing several examples of how he has misled voters about his background, positions and political appearances.  McConnell has also pledged to defeat the national tea party organizations helping Bevin.

"I've been respectful and I've stuck to the issues," Bevin said.  "But he is a man who has sent out millions of dollars worth of mailers, millions of dollars worth of radio ads, millions of dollars worth of television ads... and all of this under the guise of supposedly looking for unity within the ranks."

In a Matt Bevin commercial, Bevin's daughter accuses McConnell of lying.  Bevin has often said that McConnell is motivated by self-interest. 

Yet, Bevin said those were acceptable criticisms.

"I have never attacked anybody within the GOP ranks, ever," Bevin said.  "I've not attacked anybody - including the man I'm running against.  This has never been personal to me.  I've talked about his vote, which he considers to be an attack.  Which, if I had his voting record, I guess I might feel the same way.

"But the fact is, I have never personally attacked him on any front, ever.  I've been respectful and I've stuck to the issues," Bevin continued.  "but he is a man who has sent out millions of dollars worth of mailers, millions of dollars worth of radio ads, millions of dollars worth of television ads."

Bevin called McConnell the "poster child for the antithesis" of Ronald Reagan's so-called 11th commandment, to never speak ill of a fellow Republican.

"He's a man who's done nothing but threaten to crush people who he then expects to support him at some point in the future," Bevin said.  "He's threatened to punch them in the nose, he's called them traitors, he's called them the fringe.  And you know what, it doesn't help the unity front."

Bevin downplayed the significance of any post-primary endorsement.

"The American people are not a bunch of sheep," Bevin said.  "Heaven help us if we are."
 

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