In ruby red Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is gasping for air with an approval rating in the low 30s, prompting President Donald Trump to bail the governor out and prove that Trump’s own coattails are long enough to secure what should be a safe Republican reelect.
According to a Friday Politico report, Vice President Mike Pence has already visited and pledged help, and Bevin has come to the White House 10 times. Team Trump is intensely worried about the optics of such a close ally underwater in a state that overwhelmingly went for Trump in 2016, fretting that Democrats would take such a turnaround as cause for optimism and mobilization.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a onetime rival of Bevin’s, is also offering his formidable fundraising machine. His motives are not purely selfless either — McConnell’s seat is up in 2020 and he’s eager to spread the notion that his reelection is a foregone conclusion not worth fighting.
Though Bevin is operating in a Republican stronghold, he has become politically toxic after staging splashy fights with groups like public school teachers. He plans to run his first ad — punctuated with appearances by Trump — this weekend during the Kentucky Derby, a full six months before the election.