|U.S. Senate, Kentucky|
|January 3, 2015|
|Years in position||28|
|Predecessor||Sam Brownback (D)|
|Senate Minority Leader|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 4, 2008|
|Next election||November 4, 2014|
|High school||duPont Manual High School|
|Bachelor's||University of Louisville|
|J.D.||University of Kentucky Law School, Lexington|
|Birthday||February 20, 1942|
|Place of birth||Tuscumbia, Alabama|
McConnell was born in 1942 in Tuscambia, Alabama, but was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned his B.A. from the University of Louisville in 1964 and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky Law School, Lexington in 1967. McConnell has previously worked as the Deputy U.S. Attorney for Legislative Affairs.
Below is an abbreviated outline of McConnell's professional and political career:
- Deputy U.S. Attorney for Legislative Affairs, 1974-1975
- Judge-Executive of Jefferson County, KY, 1979-1985
- U.S. Senate, 1985-Present
McConnell serves on the following Senate committees:
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security
- Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research
- Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
- Appropriations Committee
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Department of Defense
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Rules and Administration Committee
McConnell served on the following Senate committees:
- Select Committee on Intelligence
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Appropriations Committee
- Rules and Administration Committee
Release of strategy session recordings
A controversial Super PAC, Progress Kentucky--formed in December 2012 to oppose the re-election of Sen. McConnell in 2014 mid-term elections, claimed responsibility for the secret taping of an inflammatory strategy session held by McConnell.
Leaders from Progress Kentucky allegedly taped campaign workers and McConnell himself at a February meeting during which several staffers made disparaging remarks about actress Ashley Judd, who briefly considered challenging McConnell. Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, who founded Progress Kentucky, released information regarding how they managed to recorded the secret strategy session.
On February 2, McConnell opened his campaign headquarters in the Watterson Office Park in Louisville and invited trusted Republican activists and select media outlets to an open house. The event lasted roughly two hours. Afterward, McConnell and several campaign advisors held a strategy session in an office meeting room. Morrison and Reilly did not attend the open house, but stated that they arrived later and were able to hear the meeting from the hallway.
The audio of the meeting, in which the campaign discussed potential candidate Ashley Judd’s mental health and other strategies, was eventually leaked to Mother Jones magazine.
In response to the situation, the McConnell campaign immediately requested the FBI investigate the matter, and FBI officials met with McConnell staffers on April 10, 2013. McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton released a statement on behalf of the campaign stating, "...reports that left-wing activists illegally recorded a private meeting inside our campaign headquarters are very disturbing. At this point, we understand that the FBI is immersed in an intensive criminal investigation and must defer any further comment to them."
Fiscal cliff negotiations
In October of 2010, McConnell told the National Journal in a phone interview that, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” The quote reverberated through the psyche of the Democratic party, dovetailing with rising concerns about the governing intentions of the tea party plunging Republican leadership into a call to arms that carried over until President Obama's victory over GOP nominee Mitt Romney on November 6, 2012. Since McConnell's now famous words failed as prophecy (but succeeded as motivation for Democrats to re-elect Obama) he has shown a redoubled effort to criticize the job performance of Democratic Senators and the Obama administration, particularly with regard to negotiating a deal to mitigate the impact of the looming "fiscal cliff." McConnell rejected a recent proposal from the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that included a $50 billion spending boost in the coming year. “The president is out continuing to campaign, the secretary of the treasury is coming in here and making completely unrealistic proposals and the majority leader is out trying to blow the Senate up at a time when we ought to be trying to narrow our differences and come together and do something important for the country," he later lamented to the press.
McConnell is considered an establishment Republican during a time of internal recalibration for the party. The shift began after the 2010 midterm elections saw several stalwart moderate Republicans overhauled by tea party conservatives. As such, his record of cutting deals across the aisle, specifically the three stage debt deal he made with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that came to a head last year, makes McConnell a potential target for a tea party challenge in 2014, when he plans to seek a sixth-term in office. The possible threat has some critics from both parties speculating that the 70 year old Minority Leader's recent behavior on the topic of the fiscal cliff is a calculated effort to advance his chances for re-election. Supporting this theory are numbers showing Obama won just over 3% of Kentucky's 120 counties in the 2012 general election, despite there being significantly more registered Democrats than Republican voters in Kentucky. McConnell's outspoken contempt for the Democrats in this round of fiscal cliff compromise discussions could effectively mollify conservative skeptics within his party at little to no detriment to his standing among Democratic voters next election.
Fiscal Cliff vote
McConnell voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89/8 vote on January 1, 2013.
On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists have been critical that President Obama did not offer a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."
A news report released on November 30, 2012 featured McConnell stating his intentions to seek re-election to a sixth term in 2014. “I’m running. Read my lips, I’m running,” he said. McConnell's re-election prospects looked grim as of the following January, when Politico reported that a coalition of influential Democratic individuals and organizations had formed around a strategy to assist tea party activists in the search and campaign for a Republican primary challenger to defeat McConnell, or at least weaken him for battle in the general election. The Democratic party already has a voter registration advantage in Kentucky, and party members involved in the strategy believe that by lending financial and organizational support to a formidable primary challenge, they can truly maximize their chances of electing a Democrat to the U.S. Senate seat. "What we’re finding — at least in this stage of the race — we’re finding that our interests align. It’s unusual," reasoned Keith Rouda, a field organizer with the liberal group MoveOn and the Democratic super PAC, Progress Kentucky.
TheTeaParty.net, a national tea party group, declared its support for McConnell in 2014. The endorsement will help him defend himself as some tea party activists are searching for a primary challenger against him during his 2014 reelection campaign. Niger Innis, the chief strategist of TheTeaParty.net said, “With the new revelations that the IRS has been targeting Tea Party groups, we need Sen. McConnell more than ever. He was sounding the alarm about the government’s assault on our First Amendment rights years ago, even when it fell on deaf ears. We all owe Sen. McConnell a debt for his vision and courage.”
To view the full congressional electoral history for Mitch McConnell, click [show] to expand the section.
Comprehensive donor information for McConnell is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, McConnell raised a total of $26,973,164 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.
|Mitch McConnell's Campaign Contribution History|
|2008||U.S. Senate (Kentucky)||$20,991,678|
|2002||U.S. Senate (Kentucky)||$5,981,486|
|Grand Total Raised||$26,973,164|
|U.S. Senate, Kentucky, 2012 - Mitch McConnell Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by Opponent||$10,883,172|
|Total Spent by Opponent||$10,801,203|
|Top contributors to Mitch McConnell's campaign committee|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Securities & Investment||$1,095,674|
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, McConnell missed 81 of 9,537 roll call votes from Jan 1985 to Mar 2013. This amounts to 0.8%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. McConnell paid his congressional staff a total of $2,482,775 in 2011. He ranks 28th on the list of the lowest paid Republican Senatorial Staff Salaries and he ranks 31st overall of the lowest paid Senatorial Staff Salaries in 2011. Overall, Kentucky ranks 40th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, McConnell's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $9,946,049 and $44,667,000. That averages to $27,306,524, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2011 of $6,358,668. His average net worth increased by 0.34% from 2010.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, McConnell's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $9,839,049 and $44,587,000. That averages to $27,213,024.50, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2010 of $7,054,258.
National Journal vote ratings
- See also: National Journal vote ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. McConnell ranked 15th in the conservative rankings in 2012.
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. McConnell ranked 11th in the conservative rankings among U.S. Senators.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Mitch + McConnell + Kentucky + Senate
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Heather French Henry, Former Miss America, Weighing Mitch McConnell ... - Huffington Post
- Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Push For Hemp Legalization In Senate Fight - Huffington Post
- Mitch McConnell On IRS Scandal: 'I Don't Think We Know What The Facts Are' - Huffington Post
- Sen. Mitch McConnell aims for Kentucky Derby attendees with new campaign ad - The Courier-Journal (blog)
- Mitch McConnell Used To Be Suspicious Of 501(c)(4) Groups Targeted By IRS ... - Huffington Post
- Mitch McConnell Defends Obama Administration On AP Scandal - Huffington Post
- Senator Mitch McConnell Questions Governor's Decision to Expand Medicaid - WFPL
- Alison Lundergan Grimes On Mitch McConnell: I 'Won't Be Bullied Into Any ... - Huffington Post
- Sen. Mitch McConnell's gun vote prompts ad from Gabby Giffords group - The Courier-Journal
- In Senate remarks, Sen. Mitch McConnell remembers victims of Carrollton bus ... - The Courier-Journal (blog)
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McConnell has been married to his wife, Elaine Chao, since 1993. He has three daughters from a previous marriage.
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- ↑ Gov Track "Mitch McConnell," Accessed March 3, 2012
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Mitch McConnell," Accessed October 20, 2011
- ↑ Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
- ↑ U.S. Senate Official Website "Committee Assignments," Accessed October 20, 2011
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 NY Daily News "Liberal group Progress Kentucky behind Mitch McConnell campaign recordings, Democratic official says" Accessed April 11, 2013
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 WFPL "Source: Progress Kentucky Behind Mitch McConnell Campaign Recording" Accessed April 11, 2013
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Politico "Progress Kentucky official resigns" Accessed April 11, 2013
- ↑ MSNBC, "Boehner, McConnell endorse Romney for president," April 17, 2012
- ↑ RealClearPolitics, "The mythology of Obama's obstacles," September 27, 2012
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 The Star Telegram, "Mitch McConnell has one eye on Obama, another on 2014," November 30, 2012
- ↑ U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
- ↑ CNN "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
- ↑ USA Today "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
- ↑ ABC News "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
- ↑ The Blaze, "Here Are All the GOP Senators That Participated in Rand Paul’s 12+ Hour Filibuster… and the Ones Who Didn’t," March 7, 2013
- ↑ Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
- ↑ Breitbart "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
- ↑ Politico "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
- ↑ Washington Post "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
- ↑ Politico, "Democrats, tea party unite vs. Mitch McConnell," January 28, 2013
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Politico "Targeted Tea Party Group Endorses Mitch McConnell" Accessed May 14, 2013
- ↑ U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
- ↑ U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002"
- ↑ U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996"
- ↑ U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1990"
- ↑ Open Secrets "Mitch McConnell" Accessed April 3, 2013
- ↑ Open Secrets "Chris McConnell 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 1, 2013
- ↑ GovTrack, "Mitch McConnell," Accessed March 29, 2013
- ↑ LegiStorm "Mitch McConnell"
- ↑ OpenSecrets.org, "McConnell, (R-KY), 2011"
- ↑ OpenSecrets.org, "McConnell, (R-Kentucky), 2010"
- ↑ National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
- ↑ National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
- ↑ Official Senate Page "Biography," Accessed October 20, 2011
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