Anti-establishment group funds GOP primary insurgents in Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — The Senate Conservatives Fund is proving itself once again to be a signficant thorn in the side of the GOP establishment, announcing that it has poured more than $1.7 million into insurgent U.S. Senate campaigns in three Southern states.
The biggest recipient of the fund’s largesse has been Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. He has received almost $986,000, counting both direct contributions and independent expenditures made on his behalf.
In Mississippi, State Senator Chris McDaniel, who is challenging the incumbent, Senator Thad Cochran, has received nearly $516,000. In Louisiana, Rob Maness, one of three Republicans seeking to oust Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, has received $241,000.
Maness, a retired Air Force colonel, is running against U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who has GOP establishment support both in Washington and Louisiana.
In announcing the fund’s expenditures January 3, SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said “it shows how determined people are to elect true conservative leaders who will stand up to the big spenders in both parties.”
The SCF, founded in 2008 by former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has drawn the ire of Republican leaders in Washington by backing primary challengers to sitting senators and supporting Tea Party-allied candidates against candidates considered more mainstream.
In the 2014 cycle, the fund has put a particular bullseye on McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate. However, despite nearly $1 million in fund support, McConnell still holds a huge fundraising advantage over Bevin, reporting nearly $10 million in cash on hand at the end of September.
Cochran, however, holds a much less formidable advantage over McDaniel, with a mere $800,000 on hand at the end of September. He didn’t announce that he was seeking re-election until early December.
In Louisiana, Cassidy had almost $3.5 million on hand at the end of September. McDaniel, who only entered the race in October, has not yet reported any fundraising figures to the Federal Elections Commission.