About 30 people – including some from the McConnell camp, as Bevin pointed out during his announcement – attended the event this morning at the Logsdon Community Center in Owensboro. Immediately after the event, local resident John Bickel sought out SurfKY News to offer his opinion about Bevin's decision to challenge McConnell.
"We might as well put out a 'Help Obama' sign," Bickel said, echoing sentiments expressed elsewhere that Bevin's candidacy might divide voters in the primary and give Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes more time to build a stronger campaign before next year's general election. (Grimes is expected to kick off her campaign in Lexington next week.)
But Bevin said that he entered the race because he thinks the Commonwealth of Kentucky needs a new choice for Republican representation in Washington. Bevin said he believes the reason the economy is in bad shape is because of career politicians, and believes replacing those leaders with candidates who "aren't worried about getting re-elected" is the only option if the challenges are to be overcome. He told SurfKY News he doesn't know if the national debt crisis can be resolved but said it definitely won't "if we keep doubling down on failure by re-electing (the same) leaders."
Bevin also blasted McConnell for his campaign ads, claiming McConnell hasn't produced a single ad that touts his own successes in Washington D.C., but rather has produced ads that are meant to help him get re-elected by attacking challengers.
"Mitch McConnell has spent nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate," Bevin said. "Thirty years – this isn't about Mitch McConnell as a person. What it is about is his long, long voting record as a politician. After 30 years in Washington, it is clear that Mitch McConnell has lost touch with our state, its people, and our values.
"We can no longer afford the politics of the past. It doesn't help one Kentuckian to find a job, doesn't help one person make ends meet, and it does nothing to protect our constitutional rights."
Bevin said if elected, he will fight against raising the debt ceiling until a bipartisan agreement is reached to balance the budget, and told SurfKY News that he is concerned about other pieces of legislation currently being considered.
Bevin also told SurfKY that while he isn't a "Tea Party candidate" as some have inferred, he does have Tea Party supporters, and that he will need them if he is going to win the primary election. Among those supporters is his campaign spokesperson Sarah Durand, who told bystanders at the announcement this morning that she had resigned from her position with the Louisville Tea Party.
Bevin and his wife live in Louisville with their nine children, four of whom are adopted.
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