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McConnell Vows Conservative Agenda if He's Senate Leader

McConnell brandishes a musket on stage during the speech. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a ballroom full of activists Thursday that he would fight “tooth and nail” for a conservative agenda if he takes the helm of a Republican majority next year.  

That, of course, will require Republicans to pick up six Senate seats in November and McConnell to win his own re-election in Kentucky. The five-term incumbent faces a GOP primary challenger who regularly attacks him as an insufficient conservative leader.  

McConnell walked on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference to applause, thanks in part to a large rifle he held over his head before handing it to conservative icon Tom Coburn, who is resigning from his Oklahoma Senate seat at the end of the year. He went on to blast President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid before laying out how the Senate would be run under his leadership. “If I’m given the opportunity to lead the United States Senate next year, I won’t let you down,” McConnell said. “I will lead with integrity, we will fight tooth and nail for conservative reforms that put this country back on track, we will debate our ideas openly, we will vote without fear, and we will govern with the understanding that the future of this country depends on our success.”  

McConnell faces Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the May 20 GOP primary. The winner will take on Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general.  

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