Mitch McConnell's scorched-earth strategy
FRANKFORT, Ky.— Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, but by the time Mitch McConnell is done with his reelection campaign, it may be better known for scorched earth.
The top Senate Republican is preparing to wage a ruthless campaign to hang on to his job. He’s already on the air with nearly $200,000 in TV and radio ads, is assembling streams of data to target voters with tailor-made messages, and has quietly moved to lock down support from virtually every state GOP legislator. He says he’ll use “every penny” of a war chest certain to exceed the $21 million he spent in 2008.
The problem for McConnell is that any grand-bargain talks to cut the deficit would put him in a tight spot similar to 2008, when he helped broker the wildly unpopular bank bailout to help stabilize deteriorating financial markets just weeks before Election Day. He defeated Democrat Bruce Lunsford in a tight race, 53 percent to 47 percent.
“People in Kentucky are not big fans of the bank bailouts,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, a freshman tea party favorite from Northern Kentucky, pointing to the issue as a vulnerability for McConnell.“They still remember.”
Massie is one of the conservatives being suggested as a possible primary challenger, along with businessman Matthew Bevin and the defeated 2011 GOP candidate for state auditor, John Kemper, but no one has yet decided to take the plunge.
Despite getting encouragement from tea party activists, Massie says he won’t mount a primary campaign. He said such a move would be “foolish,” and he believes a conservative challenger would receive only about 20-25 percent of the vote.
Still, McConnell’s support is soft among some on the right.
Asked if he backed McConnell, Massie paused for several seconds and then said:“Do you put ‘long pause’ in the article?”
For his part, McConnell has worked to secure backing in the Kentucky GOP establishment and to co-opt any potential tea party opponents early on.
In 2012, when the establishment rallied around a Massie rival, McConnell sat out the primary and then raised money on Massie’s behalf for the general election. And after McConnell publicly endorsed Rand Paul’s rival in the 2010 Senate primary, the two have developed a close political alliance, and now the GOP leader says he’s “proud” to have the tea party freshman’s support in his campaign.
For McConnell to win — aside from stemming his losses in the more left-leaning areas of the state, including Jefferson County that encompasses Louisville and Fayette County that covers Lexington — he’ll have to sell voters on how his power in Washington has helped their lives. That job got harder after Congress effectively banned earmarks after the 2010 elections, meaning there will be fewer projects for McConnell to send home.
“All the energy in the campaign next year will be on the side that is interested in retiring him,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat who represents the Louisville area and has known McConnell for more than four decades.“There will be no enthusiasm for his reelection.”
McConnell and his team already had coordinated a plan of attack to launch against Judd. But the only thing he would discuss was Democratic hand-wringing over her prospective candidacy.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/kentuck...
Guess he will be so busy campaigning for the next year and a half instead of representing Kentucky. Typical repukes, one election is over and they all jump on the campaign trail immediately. Let them spend their billions. It won't change anything, the GOP is dead. Teabaggers are taking them out.
Will a Tea Party Challenger Threaten McConnell? http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/201...
Unity: Rand Paul endorses Mitch McConnell
Too bad turtle man didn't endorse him. hahaha