What with all the sweetness and light going on this weekend at CPAC, there really hasn’t been much room set aside for the Hawt Media Topic of the Conservative Civil War. Well, let’s wrap up the weekend with a bit of mudslinging from upper chamber. Doing an interview with the New York Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the issue of three high profile Republican senators who are facing primary challenges from the Right. His conclusion?
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted the GOP establishment will destroy conservative insurgents attempting to unseat a trio incumbents in an interview with the New York Times published on Sunday.
“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” McConnell said. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”
McConnell is one of three establishment Republicans who are facing primary challengers backed by Tea Party conservative groups. The Senate Conservatives Fund, The Madison Project, and FreedomWorks are supporting Matt Bevin, McConnell’s rival in Kentucky. All three groups as well as the anti-tax Club For Growth are also throwing their fundraising weight behind Chris McDaniel’s run against Republican Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran. The Madison Project and the Senate Conservatives Fund are also spending to support Milton Wolf, who is challenging Kansas Senator Pat Roberts.
It’s always hard to tell whether statements like this are just hubris for show in an attempt to buy some media traction or true confidence. But in this case, it just may turn out that McConnell is finding some room to relax. Chris McDaniel has made some gains in Mississippi, but it looks like Thad Cochran is still holding enough of a lead to feel comfortable. Of course, that primary isn’t until June and a lot can change between now and then. Milton Wolf has definitely eroded Pat Roberts’ favorability numbers in recent months, but the last polling we’ve seen still shows Roberts with a two to one advantage.
As for the long game of McConnell and Matt Bevin, well… what can you say? That 55 to 29 spread doesn’t seem to be budging. But you have to wonder what McConnell was thinking in doing this interview. Even if you’re feeling your oats in the primaries, is the close of CPAC and the dawn of the primary season really the time to be taking a victory lap and doing a bit of an in your face dance for opponents in your own party? November will be all about turnout – as the off years always are – and leaving a sour taste in the mouths of supporters of any of these “upstart whacko-birds” probably isn’t going to do much for the grassroots enthusiasm in the final weeks.
But hey… the guy looks really good doing a Cold Dead Hands impression, eh?