The Senate Conservatives Fund, a national group that supports Tea Party candidates, endorsed Louisville businessman Matt Bevin on Friday in Kentucky's Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
The group, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, has been highly critical of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, most recently for his role in negotiating an end to the federal government shutdown and an extension of the debt ceiling.
In a recent survey of 70,000 of the group's members about the Kentucky Senate race, 90 percent favored endorsing Bevin over McConnell, said Executive Director Matt Hoskins in a news release.
"Matt Bevin is a true conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are destroying our country," Hoskins said.
Hoskins acknowledged that Bevin faces an uphill fight to topple McConnell.
"Mitch McConnell has the support of the entire Washington establishment and he will do anything to hold on to power," he said.
Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for McConnell's campaign, noted that the Senate Conservatives Fund backed several GOP candidates in 2012 who went on to lose against Democrats in the general election.
"Matt Bevin now has the dubious honor of standing with a self-serving DC fundraising group that made its name by recruiting and promoting unelectable candidates that ensured Barack Obama a majority in the Senate," Moore said in a statement.