In a leaked audiotape, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton can be he heard trashing his own candidate and saying that he is holding his nose for two years of working for McConnell.
Here is the audio:
The tape of a phone call between Dennis Fusaro and Jesse Benton was obtained and published by the Economic Policy Journal. The recording is mostly centered around a matter related to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, but things get interesting when the conversation moves on to what Benton is doing now. Benton said, “I’m doing something else, man. I am, between you and me, I’m sort of holding my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big thing for Rand in ’16.”
Two of the worst secrets in politics have now been confirmed. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul cut a deal where if Paul helps McConnell get reelected in 2014, McConnell will help open doors to the mainstream Republican for Paul when he runs for president in 2016. The second secret revealed is that Rand Paul fully intends to run for president in 2016. Everyone in the country who follows politics already knew this, but there it is straight from the lips of a member of Rand’s own family.
There are a couple of problems with the Paul/McConnell scheme. First, McConnell actually has to win reelection. This race looked like a tossup at best before the Benton audiotape, but now that the recording has been published reelection just became a taller mountain for Mitch McConnell to climb.
If his own campaign manager has to hold his nose while working for him, does Mitch expect Kentucky voters to hold their noses and vote for him?
The ads for the Grimes campaign will virtually write themselves. After the publication of this recording, I don’t see how Benton can stick around as McConnell’s campaign manager. A successful candidate has to at least have the support of their own campaign manager. Benton was never there because he liked McConnell. He was part of the trade between Rand and Mitch that would pave the way for Paul’s 2016 candidacy.
He doesn’t like McConnell, and judging by recent polling, he is far from alone. Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign has turned into a total disaster. His opponent, Democrat Alison Grimes, is being handed a golden opportunity. McConnell should be able to survive his tea party Republican primary challenge, but the Senate Minority Leader is being deeply wounded by his own campaign.
Democrats and the Grimes campaign should smell blood in the water. Mitch McConnell is going from beatable to very beatable, and he won’t be much help to Rand Paul in 2016 if he loses his powerful Senate seat.
It looks like McConnell’s own campaign manager has unintentionally joined the effort to ditch Mitch.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association