FOUNTAIN RUN — This small out of the way town of 214 near the Kentucky-Tennessee line isn’t exactly on the beaten political path, resting in a corner of Monroe County where it borders Allen and Barren counties.
But it is Republican territory and it was the place to be Saturday morning if you’re running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate this year.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his primary challenger, Matt Bevin, were both here for the annual Fountain Run Barbecue Festival.
McConnell rode in the parade, sitting atop the back seat of a vintage Chevy Chevelle convertible with his wife, former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, at his side. Bevin worked the crowd and waited for a chance to encounter McConnell.
As the small parade caravan pulled near the viewing stand, McConnell was just feet away from Bevin, who stood along the side of the parade route with members of his family and about 20 supporters waving Bevin signs over their heads.
McConnell waived in their direction, but he didn’t acknowledge them or Bevin, who trails McConnell by 20 points going into Tuesday’s primary vote, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll released Friday.
But Bevin spoke to McConnell’s state director, Terry Carmack, who walked alongside McConnell’s car in the parade and stopped to speak to Bevin momentarily.
“I told him welcome to Fountain Run,” Bevin said he told Carmack. Carmack “told me they come here all the time but I told him that’s not what people here today are telling me.”
McConnell earlier told a reporter it wasn’t his first trip to Fountain Run and he demonstrated his familiarity with Monroe County communities.
“If you’re a Republican (in Kentucky), you have to know where Fountain Run and Gamaliel and Turkey Neck Bend are,” said McConnell. He didn’t say it, but the reason Republicans need to know such things is because they outnumber Democrats 7.5 to 1 in Monroe County.