McConnell seeks to reunite GOP after primary; Plans first stop on Friday with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

05/20/2014 09:49 PM

UPDATED WITH VIDEO 1:08 AM — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell cruised to victory over Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in Tuesday’s primary race, but now the work begins for McConnell to reunite the party and take on what could be his toughest general election fight in Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell defeated Bevin, as well as three other candidates in Tuesday night’s GOP primary winning 60 percent of the vote. Despite spending more than $3 million including about $1 million of his own money, Bevin failed to get statewide traction.

McConnell spent nearly $11 million of his campaign cash to ensure victory, and define Bevin in the early weeks of the campaign as untrustworthy — dubbing him “bailout Bevin.”

Bevin came in second to McConnell with 36 percent with 3,051 of the 3736 precincts reporting.

Watch the video for below for Bevin’s full concession speech:

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul delivered a taped message to McConnell supporters at the GOP election party in Louisville. Paul said he would “criss-cross” the state with McConnell in an effort to bring the party back together.

In McConnell’s victory speech he congratulated Bevin on a “hard fought campaign.” But McConnell quickly moved past the primary and set his sights on Grimes.

In his remarks McConnell sought to tie Grimes to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, he said “a vote for my opponent is a vote for Obamacare.”

Uncharacteristic of McConnell he even mentioned Grimes by name saying, “Alison Lundergan Grimes is Obama’s candidate.”

Watch McConnell’s full speech here:

Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, told Pure Politics that Paul and McConnell will first appear together at an event on Friday.

While the polling does show divide within the party Benton said that he felt the party was already uniting around McConnell and that Bevin “ran a really strong campaign.”

“We feel very confident in our victory. Very strong. And again, Mr. Bevin called and gave a very classy call to Senator McConnell we feel like this party is uniting already,” Benton said.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. He is now the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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