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."
After an hour of debate, the Republican Party of a conservative Kentucky county stopped short of endorsing the Louisville businessman who is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
Boone County is an important county for Bluegrass State Republicans. It sits across the Ohio River from Cincinnati has the fourth-highest number of registered Republicans in the state. That’s why Thursday night’s meeting of the Boone County GOP brought out both Republican Senate challenger Matt Bevin, and Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton.
The Courier-Journal reports that following an hour of discussion, the county party decided not to make an endorsement in the race. Benton told members that it would be a “poor mistake” for any county party to make a Senate endorsement.
That led Bevin to tell members that they should vote their "conscience".
Boone County GOP chairman Rick Brueggemann said while there is “significant dissatisfaction” with Senator McConnell’s voting record, he didn’t think many members were comfortable making a primary endorsement.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager says in a telephone conversation taped earlier this year that he is “holding my nose” while doing the job, a less-than-flattering remark about a powerful GOP establishment figure struggling to shore up tea party support at home in Kentucky.
Benton said during the phone call that he thought helping McConnell's 2014 re-election effort would be "a big benefit" to Senator Rand Paul in 2016.
Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate.
In a brief telephone interview Thursday, Jesse Benton didn’t dispute the authenticity of the taping, saying he wasn’t confirming it was him, but wasn’t denying it either.
Separately, in a statement emailed to reporters, he said he believes in McConnell and is 100 percent committed to his re-election.
An audio of the Jan. 9 conversation was posted online by Economic Policy Journal. It said the call was placed to Benton by Dennis Fusaro, a one-time aide in former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.
A new online advertisement from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign focuses on the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS—an issue the campaign says it's not going to let slip out of the public discourse.
The nearly three minute ad uses speeches from McConnell on the IRS issue before it became a national controversy, as well as media reports and testimony from IRS officials to Congress.
It also includes a sound bite from former President Richard Nixon speaking in an interview he did on the Watergate scandal during his term as president—a comparison between Nixon and President Barack Obama.
In an interview, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says that neither the senator nor his campaign will allow the IRS targeting to stray too far away from the 24/7 news cycle nationally or in Kentucky.