Conservative PAC Hits Mitch McConnell From the Right
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is getting some heat today from the right.
A conservative political action committee, The Madison Project, will begin airing a radio ad in Kentucky today going after McConnell, something they call the "first of many attempts to unveil the truth about Mitch McConnell's failed leadership in Washington."
The Madison Project, led by former GOP Rep. Jim Ryun, was an early endorser of McConnell's Republican challenger, businessman Matt Bevin.
"Career Washington politician Mitch McConnell claims to be a conservative," the narrator of the ad says before unleashing a series of assaults on McConnell, including asking if a "conservative" would support issues including immigration reform, citing McConnell's votes for immigration reform in 1986 and 2006. "No, but Mitch McConnell did," the narrator repeats throughout the ad.
McConnell voted against the most recent comprehensive immigration bill, which passed the Senate in June.
The one minute ad, titled "Would a Conservative," has an almost $30,000 buy and also hits McConnell on his 2008 vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP, which the narrator describes as McConnell "bail(ing) out his Wall Street friends with over $700 billion of your taxpayer dollars."
The ad also mentions one of the most recent conservative critiques of McConnell: "And would a self-proclaimed conservative leader be undermining the conservative effort to defund ObamaCare in Washington? Absolutely not. But that is exactly what Mitch McConnell is up to now."
McConnell has supported repealing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but is not backing a move spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to vote down the next continuing resolution if it funds ACA implementation.
McConnell has co-sponsored a bill with Cruz that would strip funding for the law from the continuing resolution. The current funding measure runs out Sept. 30. Unless Congress passes a new funding measure by that date, the government will shut down.
This is the Madison Project's first ad hitting McConnell, but the McConnell campaign has been pounding away at Bevin, calling him "Bailout Bevin" and "not a Kentucky conservative" in television ads running in the state.
Daniel Horowitz, policy director of The Madison Project called the ad "just the beginning," stressing they will be in the fight until the primary in May. According to Horowitz, this particular ad will "run for a few weeks statewide" on conservative talk radio because they want to "begin communicating with conservatives to have a long-form debate on 30 years of McConnell's attempts to undermine conservatives."
Horowitz says in a few weeks they will assess if they want to keep running the ad or move on to different issues.
Horowitz says McConnell has been "talking one way in the state and talking another way in the Senate" and says while McConnell tends to "vote the right way in the end … he won't talk about it" and "hasn't taken a firm stance on any contentious issue."
"We view this race as a marquee race," Horowitz said. "He is the sitting (Senate) minority leader, this is a question of, 'Are we going to be the party of Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz or of Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove?'"
McConnell and Bevin will face off in May and whoever wins the primary will run against the Democratic candidate, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The McConnell campaign press secretary Allison Moore responded to the radio ad in a statement saying, "All you need to know about this group is that they're supporting a tax delinquent bailout artist who lies on his resume over the most conservative Republican Leader in modern history."
"Apparently Matt Bailout Bevin has a small cadre of fringe friends in Washington who have concluded that conservative governance isn't half as important as making money off his quixotic Senate campaign," Moore said.
This story has been updated since it was originally posted.