GOP files complaint against possible McConnell challenger
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Republican Party of Kentucky has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against a radio host who is considering a run to unseat U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The complaint, filed Tuesday, seeks an investigation of Matt Jones, who has announced an exploratory committee to run as a Democrat in next year’s Senate race. Another Democrat, Amy McGrath , has already filed to run.
The complaint alleges Jones is already a candidate and is using his statewide sports radio show to promote himself. The complaint cites “egregious violations” of federal campaign finance law concerning corporate contributions.
In a tweeted response Wednesday, Jones said McConnell is trying to get his radio show, which has 50 affiliates around the state, “off the air immediately with this complaint.”
“It’s nonsense and I am not even a candidate at this time for office,” Jones said.
The complaint alleges that iHeartMedia, the company that syndicates Jones’ radio show, is making “in-kind” contributions to his campaign by airing his opinions of McConnell on his show. The complaint also says Jones’ book publisher is paying for Jones to take a tour around the state.
“Mr. Jones used his radio show to broadcast the statewide tour, which serves to promote both his candidacy and his campaign-related book,” the complaint said.
The document, filed by GOP state chairman J. McCauley Brown, says Jones is already a candidate in the Senate race because he has filed a federal “statement of candidacy” form. But the document designates his campaign committee as “Matt Jones for Kentucky Exploratory Committee.”
Jones has said on his radio show that his decision on whether to enter the 2020 campaign would come after the statewide elections in Kentucky, which were held Tuesday.
McConnell is running for a seventh term. A fellow Republican, Gov. Matt Bevin, was refusing on Wednesday to concede his bid for reelection to Democratic challenger and Attorney General Andy Beshear. Beshear was leading by a little more than 5,000 votes of more than 1.4 million counted, a margin of less than 0.4 percentage points.
Bevin has asked for a recanvass of vote totals.