Connecticut Bell Factory Owner Trails McConnell In Kentucky Primary

May 19, 2014

Matt Bevin is running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Tuesday's primary.
Credit MattBevin.com

A Kentucky Tea Party candidate with Connecticut-ties has a tough primary facing him tomorrow.

Matt Bevin trails Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by 20 points in a new poll. Connecticut residents might remember Bevin as the owner of the bell factory in East Hampton that burned down in 2012.

But he lives in Kentucky and last year announced he would challenge McConnell for his U.S. Senate seat in the Republican primary.

McConnell's campaign quickly went on the offensive.

The nickname, "Bailout Bevin" is due in part to the Small Business Express money he received from the State of Connecticut to help rebuild his bell factory.

McConnell is not popular in his homestate. His approval numbers are just slightly better than President Obama's - and Obama lost Kentucky by 23 points in the 2012 election.

"Matt Bevin looked like a guy who could unite all those disparate elements of anti-establishmentism - but it really hasn't happened for Matt Bevin," said Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor.

Despite spending more than $3 million, 20 percent of voters still have no opinion of Bevin. The question isn't if McConnell will win - but by how much.