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Bevin announces, tea party leader resigns, endorses McConnell

Bevin announces, tea party leader resigns, endorses McConnell

by Joe Arnold


Posted on July 24, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 24 at 8:47 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- A Louisville Tea Party board member is resigning from his post in a show of support for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who gains a tea party challenger on Wednesday when Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin announces his candidacy.

"Sen. McConnell, in my opinion is our best chance of stopping the Obama agenda," Scott Reed told WHAS11.  "And I think he has done a pretty good job of doing that."

Reed said Bevin would far less influence in the U.S. Senate as a freshman senator than McConnell has gained in his five terms and his role as Senate Minority Leader.

Reed was a founding board member of the Louisville Tea Party in 2008 yet resigned from his post as Vice-President to run for state representative in 2012.  Reed said he resigned from his current board post about one month ago when former Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand decided to back Bevin's Republican Primary campaign and become Bevin's spokeswoman. Durand also recently resigned as she joined Bevin's campaign.

Durand also ran Reed's state representative campaign.

Reed joins two other prominent Kentucky tea party figures who are endorsing McConnell, Louisville Metro Councilwoman Marilyn Parker and activist and former state representative candidate Christopher Hightower.

"I agree with Senator Paul and Representative Thomas Massie that Senator McConnell deserves re-election," Reed said.  "I recently resigned my position on the Louisville Tea Party board not because I do not agree with their mission of lower taxes and fiscally conservative Constitutional government, but because I believe that Senator McConnell is the best man to thwart the Obama agenda in DC. I could not in good conscience endorse a Republican primary challenger."

Reed said it is a "free country," however, and though he disagrees with Durand's decision still considers her a friend.

The Louisville printing company executive said he believed McConnell would still win re-election but that Bevin would make the path to victory more difficult.

"He's going to have to spend money he wouldn't have to spend otherwise," Reed said, "but he'll probably have enough.  He has a pretty deep war chest."

On Monday, a letter undersigned by 15 Kentucky tea party groups petitioned two national tea party groups, The Tea Party.Net and Tea Party Nation, to rescind their endorsements of McConnell.

"Senator McConnell’s Progressive Liberal voting record, his absolute iron fisted rule over the Republican Party in Kentucky and his willingness to roll over and cede power to President Obama and the Liberals in Washington, prove that he is no friend to the American people or the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," the letter says.

"Your endorsement undermines the work of the real grassroots Tea Party organizations all over Kentucky," the letter continues.  "Had you taken the time to reach out to us, you would have learned that the Tea Parties in Kentucky do NOT support Senator McConnell’s campaign."

Hightower, meanwhile, said it is clear McConnell respects the tea party.

"As a longtime Tea Party and Liberty activist, I really appreciate the outreach and friendship Senator McConnell has extended," Hightower said.  "I think Mitch deserves to be re-elected, and that everyone who believes in smaller governemnt, less regulation and lower taxes should come together and stand up to President Obama's agenda."