The senator's handling of the crisis drew mixed reviews in Spencer County, which has seen a surge of new residents that have turned the longtime farming community into a bedroom community of Louisville, bringing a more conservative cast to the traditionally Democratic area.
Over a lunch of chili and sandwiches at the Elk Creek Restaurant, Randy Mattocks and David Travis chortled about McConnell's last-minute maneuver and said they are inclined to back Grimes.
"It's funny how he came on the scene, just like that," said Mattocks, 61, a retired state worker, snapping his fingers. "I think he's doing his best to get re-elected."
"He's trying to get some brownie points," agreed Travis, 70, a cattle farmer. "Right on the tail end of the shutdown."
Down the road, sitting in his office in the City Hall annex, under framed photos of McConnell and other elected officials, Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay said of the minority leader: "Probably he did the only thing that he could do."
"The support simply wasn't there in the Senate," Pay said. "But I think a lot of people feel that the line on the Republican side was not held hard enough."
Pay, a self-described "tea party conservative," said he's always voted for McConnell and plans to do so again. "But I haven't met Matt Bevin," he said.
Bevin was a new face to many of those gathered Thursday night at the farm bureau for his appearance, which was hosted by the Spencer County Tea Party.
"He's got to be better than what we've got up there," said Michael Burress, the 59-year-old owner of a trucking business who decided to attend after McConnell struck the deal this week. "I'm disgusted, just with him giving in."