Conservative DeMint Group Endorses McConnell Primary Challenger

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Ed Reinke / AP

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, the outside group founded by former Senator and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, has endorsed Matt Bevin, the Republican challenger running in a primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The group has been critical of McConnell’s handling of the budget and debt limit crises and funded $340,000 in attack ads against him in September. This week, the group blamed McConnell for allowing an earmark for a dam project on the Kentucky border into the bill that ended the government shutdown and deb ceiling crises. McConnell, who negotiated the final bill, said he was not directly responsible for inserting the dam funds.

“Matt Bevin is a true conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are destroying our country,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement. “He is not afraid to stand up to the establishment and he will do what it takes to stop Obamacare. We know that winning this primary won’t be easy. Mitch McConnell has the support of the entire Washington establishment and he will do anything to hold on to power. But if people in Kentucky and all across the country rise up and demand something better, we’re confident Matt Bevin can win this race.”

McConnell had largely disappeared from congressional talks on Syria and the budget, until he brokered a deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid to reopen the government and raise the debt limit earlier this week. In recent weeks, McConnell, buoyed by extremely strong fundraising, has indicated he is unconcerned by the primary challenge, turning his sights on top Democratic prospect Alison Lundergan Grimes and the general election.