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And They're Off: Kentucky Republican Senate Primary Begins with Dueling Ads

12:27 PM, Jul 24, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, the five-term Republican from Kentucky, has drawn a primary challenge for his reelection effort next year from businessman Matt Bevin. Bevin, who will likely self-finance part of his campaign, is out with his first ad Wednesday. The 30-second spot purports to introduce the first-time candidate to voters, though it spends just as much time criticizing the 71-year-old McConnell for his "30 years in Washington."

"McConnell has voted for higher taxes, bailouts, debt-ceiling increases, congressional pay raises, and liberal judges," says the ad's narrator. "Matt Bevin: small-town roots, successful businessman, father of nine, veteran, conservative, Repubican for U.S. Senate." Watch the ad below:

Asked for a comment, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton emailed the following: "Mitch McConnell is Kentucky's greatest advocate and he fights his heart out for our Commonwealth every day. Mitch is working hard to bring all Kentuckians -  Republicans, TEA Partiers, Independents and conservative Democrats - together to stand against the liberal Obama agenda in Washington. We are grateful for Mitch's broad support as we move forward to victory in November of 2014."

McConnell's campaign, meanwhile, also released an ad Wednesday, asking the question, "Who is Matt Bevin?" The ad focuses on the 46-year-old Bevin's time as a businessman in Connecticut and says he's not the conservative he claims to be.

"When his Connecticut businesses needed help, Bevin took $200,000 in taxpayer bailouts, even though Bevin failed to pay taxes," says the narrator. "Bevin's business was assessed at least eight leins for not paying taxes." Watch McConnell's ad below:

Bevin has responded to McConnell's ad in a statement. "It is truly unfortunate and sad to see Mitch McConnell go to such desperate lengths simply to maintain his iron-clad grasp on political power," Bevin said. "If a 30-year politician can't defend his record of forcing Kentucky taxpayers to pay for the bailouts of the Wall Street banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he doesn't deserve to be in office. Kentucky voters deserve more than mud slinging and lies. They deserve an honest debate about the issues facing them."

The Bevin campaign also disputes the claims that Bevin took a $200,000 "taxpayer bailout" and says he only took a $100,000 loan from the city of East Hampton, Connecticut, in 2012 after his business was damaged in a storm.

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