POLITICS: PennAve

Mitch McConnell loses Tea Party endorsement but still touts it on his website

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A Tea Party group whose original endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election was still posted on McConnell's campaign website Wednesday even though the group revoked its support for the Kentucky Republican.

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips wrote on the organization's website that his change of heart came about after McConnell did not actively support Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during his fight to weaken the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a government funding bill.

"It is time to defund the GOP until the GOP pushes people like Mitch McConnell out of leadership," Phillips said.

McConnell drew the ire of conservative Republicans when he did not vote with Cruz -- and a minority of Senate Republicans -- to try to block a government funding measure that included money for Obamacare.

Phillips's original endorsement of McConnell, posted to McConnell's campaign website since May, was a tacit one at best, supportive of Republican efforts to retake the Senate more so than of McConnell himself and his policies.

"Since the bigger battle is over control of the Senate, this is one fight where we need to decide we can live with someone who isn't perfect in order to win the larger battle," Phillips wrote at the time.

But, even as Phillips withdrew his endorsement of McConnell, he declined to throw his support behind McConnell's Republican primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

The general election race will likely be a more challenging one for McConnell, who will face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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