McConnell Holds Off Tea Party Challenger, Will Face Democrat Grimes In November
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CBS Charlotte/AP) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has defeated millionaire businessman Matt Bevin in an expensive and bruising primary election in Kentucky.
Bevin spent $3.3 million in his bid as a political newcomer backed by various tea party groups. McConnell drowned him out with more than $9 million in spending. Outside groups spent millions more defending his conservative credentials.
McConnell has been one of President Barack Obama’s fiercest critics, but Bevin accused the longtime senator of not being conservative enough.
McConnell had already shifted into fall campaign mode. He’s been attacking Obama’s health care law and coal regulations and trying to link Grimes to the president, who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky.
McConnell will face Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who easily won the Democratic nomination for Senate.
She is the current secretary of state for Kentucky. The daughter of a former state party chairman and close personal friend of the Clintons, Grimes has raised $8 million since announcing her candidacy last year. She has about $5 million left.
She looks to be McConnell’s toughest opponent since his first election in 1984, when he narrowly ousted Democrat Dee Huddleston. Recent polls show the two locked in a virtual tie.
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