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GOP Senator: McConnell Locked In 'The Toughest Republican Race In The Country'

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AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

As such, Corker praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for voting to advance a clean debt ceiling hike. Corker told Bloomberg Businessweek he hopes others appreciate that McConnell is in “the toughest Republican race in the country, [and] had the courage to vote the way the vast majority of everybody understood the vote needed to occur.”

McConnell is facing a Republican primary against tea party businessman Matt Bevin, but the incumbent is still a huge favorite to claim the party's nomination. A general election showdown against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the expected Democratic nominee, could be a different story.

Polls show Grimes running neck-and-neck with McConnell, who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky.

The Republican establishment might be growing pessimistic about McConnell's chances, too. Christian Whiton, a former State Department adviser under President George W. Bush, predicted earlier this week that McConnell will lose his seat.