Even after the primary Bevin still stops short of throwing his support behind McConnell

05/21/2014 05:55 PM

Matt Bevin only slightly altered his line about his loyalties in the fall U.S. Senate race but still wouldn’t explicitly say he will support U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell after being dealt a 60 to 35 percent defeat in Tuesday’s primary election.

But McConnell will need Bevin’s supporters come November and the general election.

Bevin has been non committal about appearing with McConnell as part of a GOP “unity rally” to heal party wounds. After recent primaries, the GOP have been using the rallies after contentious primaries.

For instance, after the 2010 Republican primary, Republicans came together at the GOP headquarters in Frankfort named for McConnell so U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul and the man he beat, then-Secretary of State Trey Grayson, could stand together with McConnell, who backed Grayson.

“I have been with Mitch McConnell in the past. I’ll tell you this, he represents far more of what I believe in that what Alison Lundergan Grimes does and that should tell you something right there,” Bevin said Tuesday night.

Bevin also stopped short of saying he would vote for McConnell come November.

Kentucky Republican Party Chair Steve Robertson said the way the GOP will come together is over common issues, “I think it’ll be pretty easy to do,” he said.

“We went through this in 2010, had a very hot primary for U.S. Senate between Rand Paul and Trey Grayson, and the party has to start focusing on the issues that unite us,” Robertson said.

“(McConnell) is going to have to remind voters why they sent him in the first place. He’s got some favorability issues that he’s got to overcome, and I think he has time to do that because Alison Lundergan Grimes is still largely undefined a lot of people still don’t know who she is,” he said.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said Bevin “ran a really strong campaign” but said the party was already reuniting whether Bevin was part of it or not.

“This party is uniting no matter what. There so much positive energy. You can feel it here tonight,” Benton said some of the groups responsible for financially backing Matt Bevin have already made donations to McConnell.

Meanwhile, Bevin’s supporters who spoke to Pure Politics after his concession speech were torn on their support of McConnell.

Amy Westlake, a Louisville Bevin supporter, said that she would support McConnell because, she’s “a Republican and I’ve got to stand behind the party in that way.”

Bevin’s brother, Tim Bevin, said he would not be voting for McConnell in November and floated the idea that it’s OK not to vote for “the least worst of two bad choices.”

Other supporters of Bevin who spoke with cn|2 spoke after the election said they were still deciding what to do come November.

In Washington D.C. on Wednesday Sen. Paul said he hoped Bevin would decide to support McConnell.

“I think that’ll show that there are no sour grapes and that he’s really willing to, you know, do what’s best for Kentucky and for the Republican party,” Roll Call=

Paul will take part in a GOP unity tour with McConnell starting Friday.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.



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