Mitch McConnell Spars With New Challenger From the Right

Credit: Roger Alford/AP Photo

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., officially has two opponents in his campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in Kentucky: one Democrat and one Republican.

Tea Party candidate and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin entered the Republican primary Wednesday morning at an event at the Kentucky State Capitol building, kicking off an unlikely bid to become the GOP nominee.

Bevin and McConnell wasted no time trading attacks on the state's television airwaves.

Bevin began his campaign by casting himself as the underdog in the race against McConnell, the well-funded, five-term incumbent.

"The fact of the matter is I cannot nor will I be able to raise the type of money that Mitch McConnell and his cronies are willing to pay to help him keep this seat," Bevin said at one of his first official events as a candidate. "The dirty grease that I'm talking about, the dirty grease greases a lot of wheels, and all those wheels are coming home to roost."

However, in a separate interview on Wednesday with Bloomberg News, Bevins hinted that he might be willing to use his own funds in his effort to unseat McConnell.

Bevin has already unveiled his first television ad, which will run statewide.

"Mitch McConnell has had a long career in politics, but after 30 years in Washington, is his leadership really the best we can do?" Bevin asks in the spot. "America deserves better than failed leadership. We can do better."

The Republican challenger is embarking on a tour of the state over the next several days.

For his part, McConnell isn't taking any chances. His campaign fired back with its own television ad attacking Bevin that sources said was backed by a six-figure buy.

In the ad, McConnell labels Bevin "not a Kentucky conservative" and lobs a series of accusations about Bevin's business dealings in Connecticut.

McConnell's Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes entered the race earlier this month.