Matt Bevin is a Republican and businessman, who is running in the primaries against five-term incumbent Mitch McConnell, senior United States Republican Senator (House) from Kentucky, who was elected in 1985 and currently serves as Minority Leader of the Senate (since 2007).
The question on everyone’s mind who is interested in this race is will Matt Bevin be just another person that the Republicans cast a vote for, not because they believe in his viewpoint, but because there is no better candidate to run against Mitch McConnell?
This may be a similar situation in which many republicans found themselves in during the 2008 elections, when John McCain was tapped as the candidate who would run against then Senator Barrack Obama. We all know how that ended and it didn’t conclude well for the republicans.
So who is Matt Bevin, the person and the politician?
Matt grew up in a rural town in New Hampshire, one of six children, who lived in a small farmhouse, with no central heat and one bathroom. His family was able to send him to a private high school, nonetheless, where he graduated and with a ROTC scholarship, he attended Washington and Lee University. Matt graduated with a degree in East Asian Studies. He is married and a father of nine, with four of his children being adopted from Ethiopia.
Matt also served four years in the military and reached the rank of captain. He left to work in the financial industry and moved to Kentucky in 1999, when he was offered a position in a company there. He owed and sold another business before becoming President of a manufacturing company and a partner at an investment management firm. He has also been involved in building infrastructure in both India and Africa. Matt and his wife, Glenna lost a daughter to a car accident when she was just 17 years old.
His political beliefs are that of a conservative who believes in strong fiscal policies. He has been touted by the Madison Project, an organization that raises monies for conservatives through a network of grassroots conservatives, as the “dictionary definition of the GOP establishment”. This title may not serve him well since it is the very GOP establishment that many republicans and libertarians, including Tea Party Conservatives are trying to unseat.
In fact, Bevin recently came under scrutiny, when he declared during an interview earlier this year with MSNBC that “I’m not a Tea Party guy”. He continued on to say that “I’ve never been a member of a Tea Party. I never went to any Tea Party meetings, although I am fiscally very much in like mind, and grateful for and appreciative of the support of anybody no matter what group they might be part of”. To be fair, these statements were made after the MSNBC reporter asked Mr. Bevin if he was part of the “anti-government Tea Party”. While the question was a mischaracterization of the Tea Party’s position, Matt rather than correcting this, appeared to want to distance himself from the Tea Party in his response.
Bevin declares that he is running against Mitch McConnell, in part, due to McConnell’s stance as being against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while at the same time being “the master of voting in ways that look good on scorecards but then working behind the scenes”.
He also indicated in September of this year, that McConnell is “the number one antagonist to Mike Lee and Ted Cruz” in their attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Glenn Beck supported this allegation yesterday on his popular radio program, The Glenn Beck Program, on TheBlazeTV network, when he announced that Mitch McConnell had recently held a private meeting with the Republican Senators specifically targeting both Senators Lee and Cruz as “traitors” or a word to that effect.
Bevin has also reported that he is not for a government shutdown but is in support of Mike Lee’s solution of funding all parts of the government with the exception of the ACA, believes in restoring gun ownership rights and voting rights for convicted felons who have completed their sentences, and opposes military action in Syria.
Mitch McConnell has begun his legendary smear ads early against Matt Bevin declaring him the “Bailout Bevin” and criticizing him for taking money from the state of Connecticut after his family business burned to the ground. Accepting a “bailout” would appear to be a contradiction to this conservative republican’s viewpoint and more in line with the current sitting president.
However, Bevin has explained that the difference is the “people” of Connecticut asked for the rebuilding of his business whereas a bailout by the current administration is not a proposal asked for or voted on by the people. Bevin also points out that the “bailout” was actually a matching grant for which he is personally liable.
At times, Bevin seems to also be in lockstep with the maximum freedom, minimum government stance of libertarians. However, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and self-proclaimed “constitutional conservative and libertarian”, currently appears to be in support of Mitch McConnell’s bid for re-election and not Matt Bevin. Bevin writes-off the “Mitch-Rand love narrative” as being a case of politics making strange bedfellows and cites Paul’s political aspirations as a factor for supporting McConnell.
Will Matt Bevin be the candidate that the republicans can win with against Mitch McConnell? It is hard to say. While Matt Bevin is a prominent businessman in Kentucky, Mitch McConnell has made a career of acquiring the financing he needs to win elections. McConnell also has a history of running smear campaigns to defeat his opponents and has already brought out the heavy artillery to attempt that again in his bid for a sixth term, even though the primaries are many months away.
Finally, with the political air today, it would seem wise for Mr. Bevin, to align himself with the Tea Party who appears to be making a strong comeback after recent developments in the Obama administration, which looks to be striping Americans of their constitutional rights on a daily basis.
Only time will tell if Mr. Bevin is who he says he is and if that will be enough to win a primary election, which currently is an uphill battle for any challenger, against this GOP establishment’s golden boy, Mitch McConnell.
Susan Knowles is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, former Family Law Attorney, and author of a political fiction, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call To Remember” available at Amazon. Her website is www.susanknowles.com.
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