Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, is fighting off a Tea Party threat in his primary race, and a threat from a Democratic Party that smells blood in the 2014 election.
And, it turns out, he faces a threat within his own campaign organization:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign manager said he’s begrudgingly working in his current capacity to help the presidential prospects of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), according to an explosive phone recording that surfaced Thursday.
In the recording, obtained by Economic Policy Journal, Jesse Benton — who ran Paul’s successful 2010 campaign before joining McConnell’s team — told conservative activist Dennis Fusaro that he has an ulterior motive in working the GOP leader’s 2014 campaign.
“Between you an me, I’m sorta holding my nose for two years,” Benton said in the recording, “’cause what we’re doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in ’16.”
The call was recorded by Fusaro on January 9.
McConnell doesn’t even have unity within his own campaign. Of course, there’s lots of backtracking and clarifications going on. Benton is shocked and dismayed that someone would actually let people know what he really thinks of Mitch. But McConnell took on Benton because he knew the Tea Party crazies were out to get him.
Bottom line is that Benton is saying Rand Paul is the guy who now runs Republican politics in Kentucky.
If the U.S. Senate minority leader doesn’t have control of his state’s party, he surely can’t keep control in the Senate for long.
- Top Mitch McConnell Aide: ‘I’m Sorta Holdin’ My Nose For Two Years’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Campaign manager: I’m “holding my nose” working for McConnell (cbsnews.com)
- Mitch McConnell’s favorite new game: ‘You know what stinks more than me?’ (dailykos.com)
- Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager: ‘I’m Sorta Holding My Nose For 2 Years’ (thinkprogress.org)