Liberal and Democratic-aligned groups are mulling the possibility of offering organizational and financial support to a tea party challenger against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014, according to a report published Monday in Politico.
McConnell's re-election bid has been the subject of intense focus from both the left and the right, as the powerful GOP leader may be in for a difficult primary and general election campaign next year.
The idea: Soften up McConnell and make him vulnerable in a general election in Kentucky, where Democrats still maintain a voter registration advantage. Or better yet, in their eyes: Watch Kentucky GOP primary voters nominate the 2014 version of Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, weak candidates who may actually lose.
“We are doing a lot of reaching out to some of the tea party folks across the state,” said Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal group MoveOn and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky. “What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual.”
Progress Kentucky has begun circulating petitions urging Republicans to jump into the race, and Democratic donors active in Bluegrass State and national politics are privately making it clear they’re willing to help bankroll a tea party candidate. Neither the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee nor the Kentucky Democratic Party is involved in the unorthodox efforts at this point, officials said.