Jesse Benton Goes to Work for Mitch McConnellSubmitted by Matt Sterba on Thu, 09/13/2012 - 10:08
Politico: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has hired a loyal aide to Rep. Ron Paul and fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to run his 2014 reelection bid -- the latest sign of how the wily leader is already preparing to head off any tea party insurgency and Democratic challenge.
McConnell announced Thursday that he's hired Jesse Benton, who led both Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign and Rand Paul's 2010 Senate campaign, to run his reelection bid for a sixth term.
"We're committed to running a presidential-level campaign in Kentucky and that starts with a presidential campaign manager," McConnell said. "Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements and I'm thrilled he's chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign."
Since Rand Paul defeated McConnell's hand-picked Senate choice in the 2010 primary, the leader has worked to win over the younger Paul, giving him political advice in that campaign, allowing him to operate independently in the Senate and touring the state with him back home. Such moves — including the latest hire — have helped cool speculation that McConnell could be vulnerable to a tea party primary challenger in 2014.