Democrats, tea party unite vs. Mitch McConnell

by
January 29, 2013

McConnell
Tea party activists looking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary may get some help from an unlikely source: Democrats.

Big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky are telling tea partiers that they are poised to throw financial and organizational support behind a right-wing candidate should one try to defeat the powerful GOP leader in a 2014 primary fight.

The idea: Soften up McConnell and make him vulnerable in a general election in Kentucky, where Democrats still maintain a voter registration advantage. Or better yet, in their eyes: Watch Kentucky GOP primary voters nominate the 2014 version of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, weak candidates who may actually lose.

“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state,” said Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal group MoveOn and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky. “What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”

Progress Kentucky has begun circulating petitions urging Republicans to jump into the race, and Democratic donors active in Bluegrass State and national politics are privately making it clear they’re willing to help bankroll a tea party candidate. Neither the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee nor the Kentucky Democratic Party is involved in the unorthodox efforts at this point, officials said.

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