This, honestly, is not a discussion we should be having.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is an icon in Kentucky. He is a 5 term Senator in a red state. He will raise more money than virtually any other Republican in this cycle. He has every major Kentucky GOP member behind him.
And yet…this is still an open question.
The problem for McConnnell is his likely Democrat challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Secretary of State of Kentucky. She has family lineage, Democrat support, and a cash reserve all of her own.
Even worse…she is running even with McConnell in early polling.
Into this dynamic enters Matt Bevin. A businessman, he believes McConnell has betrayed the conservative wing of the party. As such, he has the support of virtually every Tea Party and Conservative action group, including the Madison Project, the Senate Conservative Fund, and radio personalities Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.
Questions of Bevin’s conservative credentials came to light this week, as evidence showed that Bevin supported the TARP rescue program in late 2008. That said, this is likely a small bump in the road for Bevin, and likely doesn’t change his prospects at all.
I am not a big fan of challenging GOP stalwarts that are relatively conservative. McConnell is flawed, but unlike many of the RINOs of the past, his departures from conservatism largely are because of his leadership position more than his true beliefs.
That said, McConnell is a relatively weak candidate in a state the GOP should and must hold to have a reasonable chance of taking the Senate. If McConnell’s poll numbers stagnate or drop further, conservatives in the state have to take a serious look at the alternatives.