Challenger Knocks McConnell for Forging Senate Shutdown Deal

McConnell will seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's GOP primary challenger jumped on the news that the incumbent helped craft a deal that would reopen the federal government and extend the debt limit.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has criticized McConnell's conservative credentials and argued that the minority leader had not adequately led the charge to defund President Barack Obama's health care law. That ultimate effort  prompted the recent budget stalemate, but the urgency of the debt limit led to a bipartisan deal that was announced Wednesday on the Senate floor.

In an extensive statement, Bevin said McConnell "can always be counted on to sell out conservatives."

"After falsely promising that he would fight to eliminate Obamacare 'root and branch,' Sen. McConnell has instead given us more spending, more borrowing, and the Obamacare train wreck with exceptions for liberal pet interests," Bevin said. "Kentuckians are overwhelmingly opposed to Obamacare. Why does Mitch McConnell refuse to listen to his own constituents?"

In response, McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore dismissed the criticism and referred to a story from earlier this year about confusion over résumé information on Bevin's LinkedIn page.

"At some point, you'd think Matt Bevin would take a deep breath, stare up at his fake MIT diploma, and wonder whether this is the kind of campaign he envisioned," Moore said.

McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term, raised $2.3 million in the third quarter and had nearly $10 million as of Sept. 30. Bevin brought in $822,000, including a $600,000 personal loan to the campaign.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the likely Democratic nominee, raised $2.5 million.

The race is rated Republican Favored by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.