The man looking to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary has earned the endorsement of a major conservative super PAC, an endorsement that comes on the heels of a deal McConnell brokered ending the partial government shutdown.
McConnell did himself few favors with some in the conservative base by ushering in a last-minute bargain Wednesday reopening the government and raising the nation's borrowing authority while earning only cosmetic changes to Obamacare.
Now, the man launching a primary challenge against the Kentucky senator, businessman Matt Bevin, has garnered the support of the influential Senate Conservatives Fund.
"Matt Bevin is a true conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are destroying our country. He is not afraid to stand up to the establishment and he will do what it takes to stop Obamacare," Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement announcing the endorsement.
"We know that winning this primary won't be easy. Mitch McConnell has the support of the entire Washington establishment and he will do anything to hold on to power."
The group was founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint and is known for supporting successful challengers in GOP primaries. The super PAC had said it was "open" to potentially endorsing Bevin when he first announced his challenge in July.
The group was "waiting to see if the grassroots in Kentucky unite behind him," Hoskins said of Bevin at the time.
In its statement announcing the Bevin endorsement on Friday, the group attacked McConnell, saying that he "has a liberal record and refuses to fight for conservative principles."
Counting against McConnell in the eyes of the super PAC are moves like the deal averting the so-called fiscal cliff and the government bailout of Wall Street banks. The group also attacked McConnell for doing "nothing" to fight the Senate bill passed this summer that would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants, which conservative groups see as amnesty for lawbreakers.
McConnell's campaign was quick to dismiss the endorsement.
"Matt Bevin now has the dubious honor of standing with a self-serving DC fundraising group that made its name by recruiting and promoting unelectable candidates that ensured Barack Obama a majority in the Senate," spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement.
"They clearly care less about Kentuckians than they do about their reputation for supporting laughably bad candidates."
The Kentucky Republican Senate primary is scheduled for May of next year. If McConnell beats Bevin for the GOP nomination, the five-term Senator is also facing a strong challenge from the left, with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes seeking the Democratic nomination.