McConnell Team Touts Cliff Deal, Despite Conservative Opposition
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.