To hear Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign tell it, you'd think he solved the fiscal cliff by himself. Campaign manger Jesse Benton sent out a fundraising email on Wednesday, touting his boss' work to avoid the fiscal cliff and prevent taxes from being raised on most Kentuckians, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. "In the end, there is only one reason why Kentucky taxpayers avoided these tax hikes: Senator Mitch McConnell," Benton wrote.
The move is curious, given that McConnell has spent much of the last year cozying up to the tea party to avoid a primary challenge in 2014. Already on Wednesday, conservative activists were rumbling about McConnell's involvement in pushing through a deal that adds trillions to the nations' deficit and includes almost no spending cuts.
Kentucky 9/12 Project executive director Eric Wilson told Reuters that he knew of Republicans looking at challenging McConnell, but would not divulge any names. Though he said McConnell's fundraising prowess was a definite concern, he added: "There are definitely people here with real potential."
McConnell had a formidable $6.7 million on hand at the end of September, according to FEC reports. But tea party activist David Adams -- who ran a successful tea party primary campaign of his own as Sen. Rand Paul's, R-Ky., manager in 2010 -- told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the fundraising lead wasn't insurmountable, given the national celebrity that would accompany challenging McConnell for his seat.