For Matt Bevin, the rookie Senate candidate taking on one of the most powerful Republicans in the country — and possibly the most ruthless — every day on the stump brings a new hazing.
There was the time before he even jumped into the race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when Bevin was warned he’d be shunned by fellow churchgoers once McConnell was finished making mincemeat of his reputation. Campaign trackers follow Bevin constantly, recording his every public utterance to turn the slightest slip into an attack ad or Web video.
Vendors and consultants one day say they’re ready to come on board only to ominously reverse course the next, after mulling the repercussions of crossing McConnell.
“I’ve had people who’ve said, ‘You can use our donor list’ or ‘I’ll come on with the campaign,’” Bevin said during a recent daylong campaign excursion around Louisville. “Then all of a sudden they change their minds.”
Some have told him they were warned “it will be the last job you ever have in this business” if they joined his campaign, he said.
“It is thuggery,” Bevin added. “It’s literally like something out of Tammany Hall. It’s dusting off Boss Tweed. I say bring it on.”