Paul helps McConnell court Bevin's Tea Party voters
Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Alison Lundergan Grimes
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Almost 40 percent of the Republicans who cast ballots in Tuesday's primary for U.S. Senate voted against the incumbent, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Friday, McConnell enlisted Kentucky's junior Senator, Rand Paul, to help ensure that Tea Party loyalists neither stray from the GOP, nor stay home come November.
Three days after the Republican Primary, Kentucky U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell appeared to be moving closer to speaking with one voice.
"We're moving forward to unifying the party," Sen. McConnell told reporters at a news conference Friday.
"I think the party will pull together," Sen. Paul said. "In 2010 when I ran, it was a contentious primary."
To say the least. McConnell had backed then-Secretary of State Trey Grayson against Paul, but at the Fancy Farm picnic three months later, Grayson was helping McConnell close ranks.
"A least I am here, unlike your candidates," Grayson told jeering Democrats.
But McConnell's primary challenger, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, was nowhere close to the podium McConnell and Paul shared Friday.
"We talked election night," Sen. McConnell said. "I haven't talked to him since."
McConnell spent more than $11 million to defeat Bevin, roughly 60 percent to 40 percent. Bevin called McConnell's commercials "pure lies." As of Tuesday night, the closest Bevin has come to endorsing McConnell was a statement near the conclusion of his concession speech.
"I have no intention whatsoever in this race or in any other race that I'm aware of at this time in this state, of supporting the Democrat platform over that of the Republican platform," Bevin said.
Sen. Paul insists that Bevin's Tea Party supporters have plenty of reasons to "switch to Mitch."
"When they realize what a disaster it would for Kentucky to have (Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Allison Lundergan) Grimes," he explained.
"She would vote to make Harry Reid, who said 'coal makes you sick' the Majority Leader of the Senate, and he would proceed to try to enact the Obama agenda," Sen. McConnell said.
But Grimes insists she's beholden to no one.
"I am not an empty dress I am not a rubber stamp and I am not a cheerleader," Grimes told supporters at her victory party Tuesday night.
Grimes has courted Bevin's Tea Party supporters via an Open Letter. "I, too, believe that the federal government should help or get out of the way," the letter reads. "I, too, want Republicans and Democrats to work together to cut spending and to help Kentucky businesses create jobs."
Grimes and McConnell can expect hundreds of thousands of dollars in support, from outside groups, running their own ads-- attacking one or the other. McConnell stopped short of saying that undoing Obamacare would be job one if Republicans regain the Senate and elect him Majority Leader.
"We're not measuring the drapes here, we don't have the majority yet," he said. "But I think it's reasonable to assume that that would be a high priority for us."
He added, "We're gonna have a very, very aggressive agenda to move the country right of center. More private sector-oriented. More oriented toward getting the economy going, creating real jobs."