Matt Bevin refuses to endorse Rand Paul's presidential run
08/21/2015 09:12 PM
SOMERSET — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., stumped for Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin on Friday, but Bevin refused to endorse Paul’s presidential bid when asked by reporters after the event.
Paul offered a Peyton Manning-style, two-minute-drill pitch to supporters asking them to back Bevin in the election against Democratic nominee Jack Conway and independent candidate Drew Curtis.
“You know what I think people are really hungry for in Kentucky? A Republican governor,” Paul told the crowd.
“I think that it’s time that we get not only Republican, but a conservative Republican who has a vision for Kentucky, who knows where to go, knows how to take us there, and will get us out of this malaise,” he continued.
Paul left during the event without speaking to reporters.
After the press conference Bevin told reporters that his focus is on his run for governor, but he refused to endorse Paul in his bid for the White House on the day before Paul will pitch 350 Republican Party Central Committee members to allow an early presidential caucus in the state.
“I am delighted Rand is running for president,” Bevin said. “I have made clear from the very beginning that I am a supporter of that idea. I’m running for governor. I have made no endorsement whatsoever — I have never endorsed a candidate for anything in my life, frankly.
“At this point I don’t intend to in the presidential race while I’m running for governor.”
Bevin rather famously refused to endorse U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in his run against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in 2014 after losing to McConnell in the primary.
As Paul prepares to pitch the GOP to allow him to run for president and U.S. Senate on Saturday, Bevin said he doesn’t believe the caucus proposal has diverted attention from the gubernatorial election.
“The reality is there are different people focused on different things, as well it should be,” Bevin said.
“The reality is there’s not many people even yet focused on this race. They are starting to.”
As people begin to tune into the gubernatorial election on television they’ll find multiple ads supporting Conway and attacking Bevin. But, as of yet, Bevin has not responded to those charges in his own ads.
Bevin said he’s not buying ad time yet because “you want to go up when it matters — when people are paying attention.”
The irony, Bevin said, is that he is being recognized from the negative ads.
“There’s not a single ad that I’ve put out or that has been put out on my behalf that has my picture in it, that I am aware of,” Bevin said. “So the reality is people watch these ads that are intended to tear me down and ironically all they see is the image. And I get more good press on these ads. So far it’s remarkable.”
“Now I’m sure I get bad press too, but the reality is people are not paying enough attention yet, or will they until the last couple of months in particular, and we’re fast approaching it.”
As has become a recent norm during the election cycle, Bevin did not take questions from the Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth at the event.
Video produced by Greg Pursifull
Below the Fold
Ads run in support of McConnell's confirmation of Gorsuch; Senator calls decision "most consequential" item of career
Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.