Jesse Benton’s stint as campaign manager of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign has always been mired in speculation — and it may soon be over.
As the former chairman of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, the campaign manager of Rand Paul’s successful Senate bid in 2010 and the husband of Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Benton gave a Tea Party credibility to McConnell, who supported the younger Paul’s opponent in the 2010 U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky.
It was easy to assume that Benton aligned with his rival McConnell in a compromise that would somehow benefit the Pauls later. That assumption seems to have been confirmed by Benton himself.
In a recording obtained by the EconomicPolicyJournal.com, Benton told former Ron Paul aide Dennis Fusaro, “I’m sorta holdin’ my nose for two years, cause what we’re doin’ here is going to be a big benefit for Rand in ’16…”
The purpose of Fusaro’s call was to get the advisor on record about allegations that Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign bribed State Senator Kent Sorenson to resign from Michele Bachmann’s campaign and endorse Paul. Sorenson has alleged that Benton was aware of the transaction — Benton denies this.
Over the last three election cycles, Benton has made more than $1.1 million, according to OpenSecrets.org.
McConnell will face Tea Partier Matt Bevin in GOP primary. Bevin was quick to pounce on this news:
Even Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager thinks Sen. McConnell isn’t conservative and is holding his nose for 2 years #kysen…
— Matt Bevin (@MattBevin) August 8, 2013
Whoever wins the primary will likely face Kentucky’s secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is leading McConnell within the margin of error in recent polls.