The Tea Party has been looking to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Republican primary, and members will get help from their new ally–Democrats. Democratic donors with deep pockets and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky have the same goal: they want to find a viable candidate who can oust McConnell, who is up for re-election in 2014.
Keith Rouda, a field organizer with MoveOn and the super PAC Progress Kentucky told Politico that after “reaching out to some of the Tea Party folks across the state, what we’re finding–at least in this stage of the race–we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”
John Kemper, the 2011 Republican candidate who lost his race for state auditor, is leading a coalition of tea party groups called the United Kentucky Tea Party. “This last fiscal cliff deal really pushed some people over the edge and motivated people to actually do something about [McConnell],” he said. Preston Bates, one of the leaders of Liberty for All, a conservative super PAC, agreed with the initiative. “What we need is to stop electing Republicans that are out of touch with most general election voters.”
While actress Ashley Judd and other local Democratic candidates have been floated as potential challengers to McConnell’s Senate seat, both Kentucky Democrats and Tea Party groups are hoping to weaken McConnell through a tough primary fight. Democrats are hoping for an extreme right-wing candidates such as Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock who would probably lose to a Democrat in the general election.
Sarah Durand, president of the Louisville Tea Party, says that Democrats have offered to spend up to seven figures helping them out in the Republican primary. “I really think if Sen. McConnell can’t garner some enthusiasm within the Tea Party, which is going to be very difficult at this point, then he’s going to have a really tough road ahead in this election cycle.”