09/05/2013 10:53 am ET Updated Sep 05, 2013

Matt Bevin: 'I Have Never Been A Member Of The Tea Party' (VIDEO)

Matt Bevin, a Kentucky conservative who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, distanced himself from the tea party on Thursday.

"I'm a Republican. I'm running in a Republican primary," Bevin said during an interview on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown." "I have never been a member of a tea party."

Bevin is often labeled as a tea party candidate, and has received praise and endorsements from tea party leaders in Kentucky.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell represents the old guard in Washington D.C. that cares more about holding on to power than defending the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom," Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell said in August. "Those are the principles that Matt Bevin believes in. I know he believes in those fundamental conservative ideals because he has embodied them in his life's experiences."

Bevin has also aligned himself with tea partiers like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on issues like Obamacare.

Watch Bevin's take on the tea party above.

UPDATE -- 2:32 p.m.: A spokesman from Bevin's campaign sent the following statement from Bevin to HuffPost:

I’m running as a Republican against a Republican in a Republican primary. I’m unapologetically grateful for the support of over 15 tea party groups around the state, and the support of conservative groups that have backed tea party candidates. I share the same vision as these supporters of restoring fiscal responsibility, and Constitutionally limited government to this nation. Unlike Mitch McConnell, I do not have to try to label myself as something to gain the support of true conservatives - I just have to run on my principles, and the values I share with fellow Kentuckians.



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