Despite trailing U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell by sizeable margins in polls heading into Tuesday’s primary election, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin remains optimistic he will win the GOP nomination.
Bevin stopped at the Capitol Friday during a multi-county bus tour in his campaign’s final pre-primary push. He has traveled 47,000 miles throughout Kentucky making his pitch to voters in “every single county,” he said.
“I don’t sleep anymore, but other than that, life is good,” he quipped.
The tea party-backed candidate launched his political ambitions at the statehouse in July, but no supporters met him at the Capitol this time around. Instead, Bevin spoke to a handful of reporters before addressing a group of schoolchildren visiting Frankfort.
Bevin has not signed a pledge from the Republican Party of Kentucky to support the GOP nominee following Tuesday’s primary. While Bevin said he “has no reason not to support myself” after winning the nomination, he offered to support McConnell should the U.S. Senate minority leader be the victor as expected.
“I’ve never supported a Democrat in my life over a Republican,” said Bevin, who has been hammered on the campaign trail for remarks he made at a pro-cockfighting rally in Corbin, praising the federal governor’s Troubled Asset Relief Program in a 2008 letter to investors and listing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a résumé posted on the website LinkedIn.
“I see no chance of that starting anytime in the foreseeable future, including in this race.”
Bevin offered sharp criticism of likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state. He said Grimes “does not represent who we are as Kentuckians.”
“We are a conservative people,” he said. “We are people that are pro-life, we are pro-Second Amendment, we are pro-coal, we are pro many things that she and the people she is associating herself with are not proponents of, and so to that end she is not someone qualified to be our next U.S. senator, which is why I look forward to running against her in several days.”
Grimes predicted a turnout Tuesday below 30 percent, a bittersweet estimate for Bevin. On one hand, he said a low turnout will likely help his chances against McConnell, but on the other, it’s “heartbreaking” that so many voters are expected to stay away from polling booths Tuesday.
“If we don’t come out and vote and ensure that this continues to be a government of and by and for us, then a handful of people will hijack this process, and this is not good for our future,” Bevin said.