WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A national Tea Party group launched a radio ad on Tuesday ridiculing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of “political cronyism,” funding Obamacare, and recommending a liberal judge that has left Kentucky “stuck with gay marriage.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund, a fundraising group that supports Tea Party candidates including McConnell challenger and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, launched the 60-second radio ad to air throughout Kentucky. The spot takes a series of shots at McConnell’s career, most notably his 1992 recommendation of “progressive” U.S. District Judge John Heyburn, who last week ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriage performed in other states.

The ad, entitled “Mistake,” accuses McConnell – who many Tea Party conservatives view as part of an out-of-touch establishment wing of the GOP – of political cronyism.

“Unbelievable! Liberal Judge John Heyburn just ruled that Kentucky has to immediately recognize same-sex marriages from other states,” a woman says in the ad.

“Is that the same judge who overturned the ban on partial-birth abortions?” a man responds. “Who recommended this liberal judge?”

“Mitch McConnell,” replies the woman.

“Uh-huh. Mitch McConnell called Heyburn an ‘excellent judicial appointment’ and praised him for being ‘progressive.’ Progressive means liberal. Now, why would McConnell recommend a liberal?’”

“Political cronyism. Heyburn donated money to McConnell and served as a county chairman for his campaign,” says the man in the ad. “McConnell should admit right now that recommending Judge Heyburn was a mistake. He knew this judge wasn’t a conservative and promoted him anyway. Now we’re stuck with gay marriage.”

On Tuesday, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway announced he would not appeal a federal order requiring Kentucky officials to recognize same-sex marriages performed in one of the 17 states that allow them.

“First it was funding Obamacare, then it was giving Obama a blank check to raise the debt ceiling, now it’s liberal judges. I’m voting for conservative Matt Bevin instead,” the ad concludes.

Bevin has acknowledged the fact that no party leader has ever been defeated in a primary, and that some see his purpose as simply a way to damage McConnell moving toward a tough general election against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Down more than 20 points in polls, Bevin has attacked McConnell and a wide range of conservative issues, including an accusation last month that McConnell “voted with Harry Reid to infringe on our gun rights.”

McConnell is seeking his sixth term as U.S. senator.


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