Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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January 2, 2014

Underdog Bevin keeps fighting

LEXINGTON — He was speaking to only about 25 people, but Matt Bevin knew what to tell them on a cold, snowy night.

“David never has a chance until Goliath is on the ground,” Bevin told the small group who braved a cold and snowy night for a meeting of the Lexington Tea Party.

Bevin is attempting to play the part of David as he takes on five-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary.

Bevin told the group he has always voted for McConnell in the past because “I always thought he was the better choice. But I don’t think this time he is.”

Now, Bevin said, McConnell is so unpopular the only way he can win elections is to “to make people like me less popular than he is.”

He predicted McConnell will continue to attack him in advertising and will become “increasingly desperate” as time goes on.

He even pointed out two young people in the back of the room – trackers from the Republican Party or McConnell’s campaign who follow Bevin filming his speeches for possible use in future campaign ads.

One woman turned toward one of the cameras and said “bye-bye” and waved.

But the episode also indicates perhaps Bevin’s biggest problem – can he compete with McConnell on the airwaves and persuade enough voters he’s a preferable alternative to McConnell?

Bevin spoke for more than an hour, taking random questions and kept his audience’s rapt attention. But without the ability to get his message on the airwaves, can he reach enough voters to challenge McConnell, the Republican Leader of the Senate famous for his fundraising powers?

Kathy Gornik, a Lexington businesswoman, asked Bevin how the campaign is faring in organization and funding.

Bevin said his fundraising is going well with more than 13,000 individual donors from every county in the state and every state in the country. But he conceded his fundraising “will pale in comparison” to McConnell’s who “gets his $5,000 at a time.”

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