Three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate faced off in a KET debate on Monday. There was one notable absence: incumbent Mitch McConnell.
Matt Bevin and two lesser-known candidates, James Bradley Copas and Shawna Sterling, took the opportunity to share their political philosophies on topics ranging from health-care reform to immigration, but they also took plenty of shots at McConnell.
"He has no vision for the future," Bevin said of the Senate minority leader.
He told Kentucky Tonight host Bill Goodman that if Bevin had been in office rather than McConnell, he "would've fought for things that are state issues."
For example, he said he would have done more to block Gina McCarthy's appointment as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said was not good for Eastern Kentucky's coal industry, and he mentioned that Kentucky was among a minority of states "that doesn't allow school choice."
Bevin, a father of nine, also expressed distaste for the Common Core Curriculum, saying it was "an extraordinary invasion of Fourth Amendment privacy" that was "turning the children into little spies on their parents."
Bevin, a Louisville businessman, said that "ideologically, there's really no difference between Rand Paul and myself."
Although Paul did not endorse him, Bevin said the same groups that backed Paul "have all coalesced behind me."
On the topic of gun control, Copas, an Army veteran who lives in Lexington, said he did not support expanded background checks or limits on high-capacity magazines.
"The Constitution is my background check," he said.
When asked about immigration, he said that "viable economic solutions on both sides of the border" were needed.
Sterling, of Bethel, repeatedly mentioned the process of adopting her daughter and said she was in the race "to fight for Kentucky's children."
Although she is a lifelong Republican, she said she campaigned for President Barack Obama because she supported health-care reform.