Dems Look to Fund Tea Party Challenger to McConnell

by Katrina Trinko

Politico reports on how Democrats are trying to fund a tea-party rival to oust Mitch McConnell from his Senate seat:

Tea party activists looking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary may get some help from an unlikely source: Democrats.

Big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky are telling tea partiers that they are poised to throw financial and organizational support behind a right-wing candidate should one try to defeat the powerful GOP leader in a 2014 primary fight.

The idea: Soften up McConnell and make him vulnerable in a general election in Kentucky, where Democrats still maintain a voter registration advantage. Or better yet, in their eyes: Watch Kentucky GOP primary voters nominate the 2014 version of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, weak candidates who may actually lose.

“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state,” said Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal group MoveOn and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky. “What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.

McConnell’s been well aware for years that he could face a tea-party challenge, and has been taking steps to make sure he isn’t vulnerable. (He also has hired former Ron Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton.) But if Democrats are truly willing to pour significant money into a rival’s campaign, it could make for a heated primary. 


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