Elections
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by members of the GOP leadership, meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 18, 2013, following a Republican strategy session. From left are, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Conservative group endorses Republican challenger to Mitch McConnell

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

The new Republican challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell scored an early endorsement Monday from a national conservative group.

The Madison Project — a political action committee chaired by former Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun that raises money for conservative candidates — announced they will be supporting Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin in the Republican primary against McConnell.

The PAC is launching a website, DumpMcConnell.com.

“The only way to change the lackluster leadership in the Republican Party is to replace the career politicians who lead the party,” Ryun said in the endorsement. “Matt Bevin is brave enough to storm the castle of the GOP Establishment and challenge the sitting minority leader, and we are proud to stand with him and millions of conservatives who feel disenfranchised by unprincipled GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell.”

Bevin announced his candidacy last week.

McConnell’s campaign is taking the challenge seriously: they have been raising questions about Bevin’s conservative bonafides, attacking him as “Bailout Bevin” for taking $200,000 in state government money last year after his Connecticut factory, which wasn’t insured, burned down.

Early polls show McConnell trouncing Bevin: A Wenzel Strategies poll released last week shows the minority leader leading Bevin 59 percent to 20 percent.

It’s still yet to be determined whether other national conservatives will back Bevin.

Two key national conservative groups hinted last week that they are open to supporting him over McConnell, but suggested they need more time to get to know the new candidate.

“The Club for Growth PAC met with Matt Bevin many months ago, and we’d like to hear more about his candidacy and the differences between him and Senator McConnell on the issues,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said. “The Club’s PAC will watch Kentucky’s Senate race — as it would with any race — over the coming months to determine if our involvement is warranted.”

Matt Hoskins, the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, made similar comments.

“We’re open to supporting Matt Bevin’s campaign and will be waiting to see if the grassroots in Kentucky unite behind him,” he said.

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