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FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: MCCONNELL GETS A TEA PARTY CHALLENGER – DSCC CRUSHES NRSC IN $$$ RACE – MCCONNELL’S “BULLSHIT” – WATCH THOM TILLIS

FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: MCCONNELL GETS A TEA PARTY CHALLENGER – DSCC CRUSHES NRSC IN $$$ RACE – MCCONNELL’S “BULLSHIT” – WATCH THOM TILLIS

BREAKING: MITCH MCCONNELL DRAWS TEA PARTY CHALLENGER. WHAS's Joe Arnold reports this afternoon that Matt Bevin, a Tea Partier and Louisville businessman,  will challenge Mitch McConnell from the right. Bevin plans to announce his campaign and go up on the air with ads next week.

MITCH MCCONNELL’S “BULLSHIT.” Republicans literally called “bullshit” on Mitch McConnell this week. He tells Kentucky press that he will win reelection because he has influence in Washington, but his Republican colleagues are saying that they’re fed up with McConnell’s addiction to gridlock and obsession with his vulnerable reelection. They “virtually left [him] out” and called “bull shit” on his version of the events.

AND KENTUCKIANS ARE SAYING THE SAME THING. Recent DSCC polling showed abysmal poll numbers for McConnell. His job approval rating is net -27% with 62% of Kentucky voters disapproving of his job performance to just 35% approving. Just 28% of registered voters said they plan vote to reelect McConnell.

COURIER-JOURNAL EDITORIAL: SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL IS MIA. It takes a lot of brass to obstruct a deal, get left out of it, vote against it, yet bask in shared credit for it. But that is exactly what Kentucky’s senior Sen. Mitch McConnell did this week after some of his more rational Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate pushed him aside to broker an agreement with Democrats to finally begin approving stalled executive branch appointees of President Barack Obama. Mr. McConnell, minority leader of Senate Republicans, became even too obstructive for his own colleagues this week as they sought to end the endless GOP filibusters that have ground Washington to a halt.

MCCONNELL HAMMERED AS SELF-PROCLAIMED “PROUD GUARDIAN OF GRIDLOCK.” Mitch McConnell was blasted this week by the Kentucky and national media for his addiction to gridlock. It’s no secret that McConnell’s unprecedented level of obstruction is seriously hurting Kentucky jobs, women, veterans, businesses, seniors, and more.

REPUBLICANS  ACCUSE MCCONNELL OF LEADING FROM BEHIND. POLITICO reported this morning: “...it’s clear that McConnell who… faces a costly reelection campaign in 2014 — is spending more time than ever juggling the competing interests of his rank-and-file, while having to fight with Obama and the Democrats. And the GOP discord may jeopardize the party’s leverage in the fall over key issues like the debt-ceiling hike and government spending... Some [Republicans] think the leadership is ducking the tough votes and allowing the rank-and-file to shoulder the burden. ‘This leadership team has adopted the Obama ‘lead-from-behind’ approach to governing,’ said a senior Senate Republican source.”

20 CONSULTANTS TRY TO HELP MCCONNELL ALONG HIS “ROUGH POLITICAL ROAD.” McClatchy reports today on McConnell’s “rough week” and the political turmoil it caused him presents Democrats with new opportunities. National Journal’s Hotline reported this week on McConnell’s record creating jobs … in the GOP political consulting world.  In an effort to hide his embarrassing record of obstruction and failure in Washington, Mitch McConnell was forced to hire 20 consultants.

THE SOLUTION: ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES OFFICIALLY FILES TO CHALLENGE MCCONNELL, WILL KICK OFF CAMPAIGN JULY 30TH. Alison Lundergan Grimes made it official this week when she filed paperwork to challenge McConnell and announced she will kick off her campaign July 30th followed by a major speech at the legendary Fancy Farm Picnic.

KENTUCKY REPUBLICAN: “I THINK SHE CAN WIN IT.” In The Atlantic this week, Republican Bill Johnson, who Grimes defeated by 22 points to become Secretary of State, makes a strong case for McConnell’s defeat, "I think the energy's going to be on her side. She's an up-and-comer in the party. I don't think the Tea Party's going to come out energized for McConnell. I think she can win it."

UGLY PRIMARIES LOOMING FOR SENATE REPUBLICANS. As Democratic candidates focus on raising money and building campaigns, Republicans are failing to unite around candidates in almost all of the states crucial to taking back the majority. Reuters reported this week on “the prospect of ugly Republican nominating battles” across the country.

THOM TILLIS – ONE TO WATCH: Special Interest Speaker Thom Tillis was named a politico to watch by POLITICO. There’s no doubt everyone should be watching Tillis. Much like the Hindenburg, Tillis has proven to be a disaster, and he just completed one of the worst weeks a Senate candidate could ever imagine:

TILLIS’ HOMETOWN PAPER CALLS FOR HIS RESIGNATION. The Charlotte Observer: “[Tillis] has shown he can’t give his undivided attention to the N.C. House and the U.S. Senate at the same time. He should give up his Speaker’s gavel, resign from his House seat and give his full energy to his Senate bid, unencumbered by such distractions as running the state.

TILLIS DONORS NAMED TO UNC BOARD, LATEST IN LONG LINE OF QUESTIONABLE CONTRIBUTIONS. Thom Tillis already has a long history of sketchy fundraising tactics and this week the front page of the Raleigh News & Observer revealed that three Tillis appointees to the UNC Board of Governors gave his Super PAC $70,000.

  TILLIS RUNS OFF TO DC DURING BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS TO RAISE $$$. In his first quarter as a candidate Tillis raised a dismal $277,000. This week, instead of doing his job, Thom Tillis jetted up to DC to meet with groups he hopes will bankroll his campaign. Watch a funny video from NC Democrats welcoming Thom Tillis back from DC.         

NEW POLL SHOWS HAGAN WITH DOUBLE DIGIT LEADS OVER REPUBLICAN FIELD. A new PPP poll out this week shows Kay Hagan up double digits over all potential Republican opponents.

GOP STRUGGLES FOR TRACTION IN PIVOTAL NORTH CAROLINA SENATE RACE. The Hill reports this week on Republicans “growing nervous about the party’s chances” of defeating Kay Hagan in 2014. National Republicans are continuing to desperately search the state for an “anyone but TIllis” candidate and are likely to face a “crowded primary field [that] could deplete resources.”

GOP REBRAND IOWA EDITION: PENDING CONVERSION OF ALL JEWISH DEMOCRATIC SENATORS. The Des Moines Register reported this week that Republican Senate hopeful David Young told a crowd of Christian conservatives this week that as part of his efforts to bring people together in Washington he would like to sit down with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to share “the good news of Jesus Christ.” Stay tuned: Young is not even the most conservative candidate in the crowded Republican primary race.

DSCC RAISES $13.7 MILLION IN THE SECOND QUARTER, OUTRAISES NRSC BY NEARLY $10 MILLION FOR THE CYCLE. The Washington Post reports the DSCC raised $5.3 million in June, and $13.7 million in the second quarter—nearly half of which came from small contributions less than $200. For the cycle, the DSCC has raised $27.4 million, nearly $10 million more than the NRSC.

WINNERS IN THE $$$ RACE: RED STATE DEMS, DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENTS. Both the Washington Post and The Hill named red state Democrats as some of the biggest fundraising winners in the second quarter. USA Today wrote:  “Senate Democrats, facing election challenges to their majority, continued to stockpile campaign money during the second fundraising quarter of the year.”

LOSERS IN THE $$$ RACE: GOP SENATE HOPEFULS THOM TILLIS, KAREN HANDEL, MEAD TREADWELL, ENTIRE REPUBLICAN FIELD IN IOWA.

  • Republicans might be dreaming of North Carolina’s Thom Tillis as a future NRSC Chair but in his first cycle as a Senate candidate he only raised $277,000, despite skipping out on important state legislature business to attend fundraisers. Kay Hagan has  17 to 1 cash advantage over Tillis.
  • The Washington Post called Georgia Senate hopeful Karen Handel a fundraising loser for only raising $145,000 during her first quarter as a Senate candidate.
  • Mead Treadwell raised an embarrassing $120,000 and gave himself another $50,000. Wow. That’s generous. Meanwhile, Mark Begich brought in nearly $1 million in the second quarter and has $2 million on hand.
  • The Des Moines Register reported that Bruce Braley is winning the money race in Iowa, raising $1.25 million in the second quarter. The closes Republican was David Young with just $153,000, followed by David Whitaker with $115,000.

SHOULDN’T MISS:

CASSIDY CHALLENGER MEETS WITH CRUZ, PAUL, POWERFUL CONSERVATIVE GROUPS. Rob Maness, who’s challenging Bill Cassidy from the right in Louisiana, was in DC this week looking to lock down support from Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and powerful conservative outside groups. The Senate Conservatives Fund have already attacked Cassidy for not being conservative enough—Republicans could have a real problem posing a credible challenge in Louisiana.

WYOMING GOP PRIMARY POISED TO SHOWCASE WORST OF GOP. The blockbuster Republican primary taking shape in Wyoming is certain to showcase how extreme the GOP has become – like a sushi-go-round of everything that is wrong with the Republican party… in the raw!

NEW POLL: WARNER IN SOLID POSITION FOR 2014. A new PPP poll in Virginia today showed that Mark Warner continues to be the most popular politician in the Commonwealth with a 51% approval rating.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s award goes to LEO Weekly’s Joe Sonka, “Week in review for Mitch McConnell: His GOP Senate colleagues consider him a "lead-from-behind major bullshitter." #influence”

Enjoy the weekend.

Matt Canter
@mattcanter |

Justin Barasky
@JustinBarasky|

Regan Page
@regan_page |