Although he denies any wrongdoing, Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton will resign from the campaign, effective Saturday.
Several media outlets have reported on questions surrounding Benton's involvement in an alleged political payoff from two years ago involving former Iowa Republican State Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sorensen pleaded guilty this week to concealing payments from Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign. Investigators contend Sorenson was paid to switch his 2012 presidential endorsement.
Benton, at that time, was Paul’s political director. Benton calls reports that he knew of the alleged payoff “inaccurate and unsubstantiated.”
But in an e-mail Friday afternoon Benton writes. “I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will affect the voters’ ability to hear [Mitch McConnell’s] message and assess his record."
Jesse Benton's full statement:
There is no more important cause for both Kentucky, my new home I have come to love, and our country than electing Mitch McConnell Majority Leader of the United States Senate. I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way.
That includes myself.
Recently, there have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue. I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity.
The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false.
However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign.
Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record. This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.
With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted. Effective Saturday, August 30th, I will no longer be the “Team Mitch” campaign manager.
The good news is that most of my work has been done. We have built a top flight team of incredible people that are working tirelessly to ensure Mitch's re-election. They are a finely oiled machine and will not skip a beat without me.
This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."