Bevin and Massie have not signed GOP pledge to support U.S. Senate nominee

syoungman@herald-leader.comMay 7, 2014 

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin spoke at the grand opening of his Lexington campaign headquarters at on Nicholasville Road on May 6, 2014. Bevin is running against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell in the primary. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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The majority of Kentucky's federal Republican officials and candidates have signed a pledge to support whichever U.S. Senate candidate emerges from the May 20 primary, but two prominent Republicans are holding out.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, still running hard in a longshot bid to upset U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, hasn't signed the pledge sent out last week by the Republican Party of Kentucky.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, generally identified as a Tea Party congressman, indicated Wednesday that he had no intention of signing the letter, although Massie seemed to indicate that he would back whomever the party nominates.

"My role as a United States congressman is to sort the things that matter from the things that don't matter, and to focus on making a positive change for my country and my constituents," Massie said in an email message. "While balancing the budget and protecting personal liberties deserve my focus and attention this week, this letter does not."

Massie continued: "On the evening of May 20, the primaries will be behind us and we can focus on replacing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the next Congress."

He also added a swipe at likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes.

"I'll back all qualified candidates this fall who champion economic freedom, personal liberty and constitutional government," Massie said. "Because of her support for the agendas of Harry Reid, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, the Kentucky Democrat Senate candidate fails these criteria miserably."

A Bevin spokeswoman did not return a message Wednesday seeking an update on whether Bevin would sign the letter.

The state party sent the pledge to McConnell and Bevin and the Republican members of Kentucky's congressional delegation early last week.

McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield have all signed the pledge.

"We stand united to help ensure GOP unity for the general election next November," the pledge reads. "We pledge our full endorsement and support to the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate immediately following the declaration of a winner in the primary election on the night of May 20, 2014."

In a February 2013 interview with WHAS-TV in Louisville, Massie backed McConnell.

"I'm supporting the only candidate in that race right now," Massie said before Bevin had entered the race. "No other Republicans have stepped forward to challenge (McConnell) and we don't even have a Democrat that has stepped forward, not that I would support the Democrat."

Since that time, Massie hasn't really been part of the U.S. Senate race conversation and has not publicly endorsed Bevin.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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