Difference between revisions of "Mitch McConnell"

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[[File:Mitch McConnell 2008 Donor Breakdown.PNG|right|375px|thumb|Breakdown of the source of McConnell's campaign funds before the 2008 election.]]
[[File:Mitch McConnell 2008 Donor Breakdown.PNG|right|375px|thumb|Breakdown of the source of McConnell's campaign funds before the 2008 election.]]
McConnell won re-election to the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] in 2008. During that election cycle, McConnell's campaign committee raised a total of $20,991,678 and spent $21,334,523.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00027566&cycle=2012&newMem=Y ''Open Secrets'' "Chris McConnell 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 1, 2013]</ref>
McConnell won re-election to the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] in 2008. During that election cycle, McConnell's campaign committee raised a total of $20,991,678 and spent $21,334,523.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00027566&cycle=2012&newMem=Y ''Open Secrets'' "Chris McConnell 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 1, 2013]</ref>
{{Congress donor box 2012
{{Congress donor box 2012

Revision as of 15:54, 13 March 2014

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell.jpg
U.S. Senate, Kentucky
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 30
PredecessorSam Brownback (D)
Senate Minority Leader
Base salary$193,400/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$26,973,164
Term limitsN/A
High schoolduPont Manual High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Louisville
J.D.University of Kentucky Law School, Lexington
Date of birthFebruary 20, 1942
Place of birthTuscumbia, Alabama
Net worth$22,841,026
Office website
Campaign website
Mitch McConnell campaign logo


Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell (b. February 20, 1942, in Tuscumbia, Alabama) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Kentucky and currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader. McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984.[1]

McConell previously worked as the Deputy U.S. Attorney for Legislative Affairs from 1974 to 1975 and as a judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky from 1979 to 1985.[1]

McConnell ran for re-election to a sixth term to the U.S. Senate in 2014.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, McConnell is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


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.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of McConnell's professional and political career[1]:

  • Deputy U.S. Attorney for Legislative Affairs, 1974-1975
  • Judge-Executive of Jefferson County, KY, 1979-1985
  • U.S. Senate, 1985-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


McConnell serves on the following Senate committees[4]:

  • 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[5]:



Criticism of Senate

In a forty minute speech on January 8, 2014, McConnell delivered critique of the Senate and listed three changes he would make if Republicans gain control of the chamber after the 2014 elections.[6]

After calling the Senate a “permanent sort of shirts-against-skins contest,” McConnell went on to say that he would allow a “more robust” committee process, permot more amendments on the floor and hold a longer Washington work week.[6]

“I’m not here to claim that we are without fault,” McConnell said. “But I am certain of one thing — I’m absolutely certain of one thing — that the Senate can be better than it is.”[6]

Tea Party Republicans

See also: Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks

Glenn Beck announced on October 8, 2013, that he was informed by an anonymous source that during a closed-door meeting, McConnell insinuated that anyone working with the Senate Conservatives Fund or FreedomWorks is basically a “traitor” to the GOP.[7]

Beck clarified that McConnell did not actually use the word “traitor,” “but that’s what everybody heard.” McConnell also reportedly said that these two groups in particular are “trying to destroy the Republican party.”[7]

According to Beck, roughly what McConnell said was, “FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund worked hard to unseat me, and I want you to be very clear on this. If any of you take a dollar from either FreedomWorks or the Senate Conservatives Fund, you’re an enemy of mine.”[7]

Supreme Court campaign finance case

On October 8, 2013, in the Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, McConnell had ten minutes to argue against the $123,000 aggregate limit on the amount that contributors may give to all federal candidates and parties in a two-year period.[8] McConnell wants the court to revisit and perhaps overrule a 1976 decision that permitted limits on campaign contributions, while allowing unlimited campaign spending as an exercise of free speech.[8]

McConnell has described himself as "the Senate's most passionate defender of the First Amendment guarantee of unrestricted political speech."[9]

On August 30, 2013, the court granted McConnell "leave" to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae – a friend of the court who is not a direct party to the lawsuit.[9]

Requests for donations in Syria email

In an email sent September 10, 2013, McConnell’s campaign asked supporters for money in an email highlighting his opposition to military action in Syria.[10] The message, which went out moments after President Barack Obama’s address to the nation Tuesday, included a transcript of the speech that McConnell gave opposing action.[10]

“Today was a ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton wrote in the email. “Anything that you can contribute will go a long way towards our goal.”[10]

Other Republicans have also asked for campaign donations in emails about Syria to their supporter lists, including Ken Buck, Terri Lynn Land and Michael Grimm.[10]

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.[11]

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.[11] Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, who founded Progress Kentucky, released information regarding how they managed to recorded the secret strategy session.[11]

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.[12][11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[13] 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."[13]

Kentucky Opportunity Coalition ads

Kentucky Opportunity Coalition's September 2013 ad, "Gauntlet."

On September 18, 2013, the nonprofit Kentucky Opportunity Coalition announced plans to spend $325,000 on a week’s worth of commercials running statewide for McConnell in response to his efforts to combat the Affordable Care Act.[14][15]

“It’s tough times for Kentucky families. And now one of Kentucky’s largest employers, forced to cut health care coverage,” the ad says. “That’s why Sen. McConnell keeps on fighting to dismantle and defund Obamacare.”[14]

Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[16] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to McConnell's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[17]

National security

American response in Syria

McConnell said the president's role as commander in chief is strengthened when he has the support of lawmakers.[18] He made the comment in a statement on August 31, 2013, confirming President Barack Obama's announcement that he had told congressional leaders he wanted to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack but would first seek congressional approval.[18]

On September 3, 2013, McConnell did not offer support for a military strike against Syria.[19] In a stark contrast with GOP leaders in the House, McConnell voiced skepticism about a strike and said Obama needed to explain more to Congress and the public.[19]

“While we are learning more about his plans, Congress and our constituents would all benefit from knowing more about what it is he thinks needs to be done — and can be accomplished — in Syria and the region,” McConnell said in a statement after meeting with Obama at the White House on September 3, 2013.[19]

On September 10, 2013, McConnell announced that he opposed intervening in Syria and criticized President Barack Obama for letting the situation deteriorate.[20]

“I will be voting against this resolution -- a vital national security risk is clearly not at play," McConnell said in a Senate floor speech after laying out in detail how he thought Obama had botched the issue. "There are just too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria, including the fact that this proposal is utterly detached from a wider strategy to end the civil war there, and on the specific question of deterring the use of chemical weapons, the president’s proposal appears to be based on a contradiction...Either we will strike targets that threaten the stability of the regime — something the president says he does not intend to do — or we will execute a strike so narrow as to be a mere demonstration," McConnell said, saying the lack of a clear plan was a serious problem.

"We cannot ignore the unintended consequences of our actions," he added.[20]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" McConnell voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[21]

Drones filibuster
See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 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 were critical of President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[22][23][24]

McConnell was one of the 13 Republican senators who joined Paul in his filibuster.[25][26]

According to the website Breitbart, 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.[27][28]

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."[29]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[30] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[31] McConnell joined with 19 other Republican senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Nay3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[32][33] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[33] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[34] It increased the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel by 1 percent, increased Head Start funding for early childhood education by $1 billion, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts.

McConnell voted with 25 other Republican members against the bill.[32][33]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[35] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. McConnell voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[36]

Statement on government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013#Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act

In a statement McConnell said, "the effects of this completely unnecessary shutdown will have a real impact on my constituents. And I will donate my paycheck to charity for as long as Senate Democrats deprive hardworking Americans of their paychecks during this completely unnecessary shutdown.” An aide added that McConnell plans to donate compensation earned during the shutdown to Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville.[37]

Post-shutdown fundraiser

At a National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in October 2013, McConnell said that the shutdown was "not conservative policy" and reiterated that he always believed that "this strategy could not and would not work." He attended the fundraiser with over a dozen Senate Republicans.[38]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "No" McConnell voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[21]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "No" McConnell voted against the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[21] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. McConnell was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[21]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Irresolvable conflict

On February 4, 2014, McConnell said that immigration reform was an "irresolvable conflict."[39][40]

“We have sort of an irresolvable conflict here. The Senate insists on comprehensive. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at step-by-step. I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place.”[40]

Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "Yes" McConnell voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[21]


Governor Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear (D) called on McConnell and other Republicans in Kentucky to come see the exchange and the state residents who want to take advantage of the law on December 5, 2013.[41]

“I want to publicly invite our entire federal delegation to come back to Kentucky as [Democratic Rep.] John Yarmuth does all the time and come over to our center, our nerve center where we’re running this program and see for yourself what is going on,” said Beshear. “When you see that, I think you’ll quit saying this will not work and Kentuckians don’t want it.”[41]

“Ever since the passage of Obamacare, I’ve been traveling around Kentucky, listening to what my constituents have to say about this disastrous law,” McConnell responded in a statement. “I’ve spoken with concerned Kentuckians at 57 health care town halls around the state. What I’ve heard at every stop is proof that the damage Obamacare is doing isn’t just speculation — it’s reality.”[41]

Beshear also said that he expects McConnell’s criticism of the law will come back to haunt him.

“I have a U.S. senator who keeps saying Kentuckians don’t want this,” Beshear said. “Well, the facts don’t prove that out. There’s about 550,000 on our website right now who want it — and some 65,000 to 69,000 that have signed up. So Kentuckians do want it...It will be interesting to see what type of an election issue this is next year,” Beshear said. “Obviously, the critics right now want to divert attention from the dysfunction here and the lack of ability to get things done, would like us all to be looking at the website and all of these extraneous types of issues with the Affordable Care Act, but I have a feeling by November of next year, this will be an issue.”

“My main message to the House caucus today was a message that’s tough for folks to listen to when you have elections coming up but it’s simply this: Be patient. Take a deep breath,” Beshear said. “Because I’ll guarantee you by next November, this issue is going to look a lot different than it looks right here on the Hill right now.”

He encouraged other Democrats to talk about the health care overhaul in their campaigns.[42]

“I think it’s going to be a plus,” he said. “If I were running for anything, I sure would be running on it.”[42]

Cut federal healthcare for lawmakers

McConnell announced his support for a proposal made by David Vitter (R-LA) to cut federal health care subsidies for lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides on September 25, 2013.[43]

“I don’t think that members of Congress ought to be treated any differently in any way from anybody else in America. We should not get any carveouts from Obamacare,” McConnell said.[43]

Senate block of House spending bill

On September 23, 2013, a spokesperson for McConnell announced that he will not join an effort in the Senate to block a House-passed spending bill that defunds Obamacare.[44]

“Sen. McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny. He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill,” said Don Stewart, a McConnell spokesman.[44]

His position counters the proposed action of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who want to oppose a procedural vote on the House bill before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to strip out the Obamacare defunding provision by a majority vote.[44]

Amendment to delay Obamacare mandate

McConnell submitted an amendment to an energy efficiency bill under consideration in September 2013 that would delay the health care law’s individual mandate for a year and would codify the one-year delay of the employer mandate.[45][46]

Though no vote on the delay is guaranteed, McConnell's sponsorship of the bill is expected to aid in it's consideration. The decision over which amendments receive consideration in the Senate are negotiated by McConnell and Harry Reid.[45]

“Sen. McConnell has offered this before and will continue to push for it until everybody gets the same break that President Obama granted to businesses,” said John Ashbrook, a spokesman for McConnell.[45]

The measure is co-sponsored by John Cornyn, Tom Coburn, Dan Coats, Lamar Alexander and John Barrasso.[45]

Government shutdown over Obamacare

McConnell said July 30, 2013, that he had yet to decide whether to support a proposal to block government funding if it includes money for ObamaCare.[47]

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee increased the pressure on McConnell to threaten a government shutdown if Democrats refused to relent on the healthcare overhaul.[47] . McConnell told reporters that he was in the midst of discussions about government funding, which expired at the end of September, and the national debt limit, projected to run out at year’s end.[47]

“We’ve had a lot of internal discussions about the way forward this fall in both the continuing resolution and, ultimately, the debt ceiling, and those discussions continue,” McConnell said. “There’s no particular announcement at this point.”

Social issues

Violence Against Women Act

Voted "No" McConnell voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[21]

McConnell’s re-election campaign is emphasizing his support for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), despite his consistent record of voting against the anti-domestic violence legislation.[48]

A press packet that McConnell’s spokeswoman distributed to reporters at an event on August 30, 2013, titled “Women For Team Mitch” features testimonials from Kentucky women.[48] A quote, attributed to a woman named Angela Leet in Jefferson County, read, “Mitch was the co-sponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act- and continues to advocate for stronger policies to protect women. I am proud to call him my senator.”[48]

McConnell did cosponsor a version of the Violence Against Woman Act in 1991, which never received a Senate vote.[48] By the time the measure came up again in 1993, McConnell was no longer a cosponsor, and in fact voted against final passage of the bill. In 2005, it was renewed by an unrecorded voice vote. In 2012, McConnell voted against the Senate-passed VAWA, which died in the House. Then early in 2013, he again voted against VAWA re-authorization, which passed the Senate by a vote of 78-22, and eventually passed the House and was signed into law.[48] McConnell has supported a scaled-back GOP alternative to VAWA which excludes protections for gays, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants who suffer from domestic abuse.[48]

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes accused McConnell of deception. “The women of Kentucky will not be fooled by Senator McConnell’s failed leadership and deception when it comes to issues important to women and their families,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said. “His actions read loud and clear: McConnell repeatedly voted against equal pay for equal work, the Violence Against Women Act and now turns to lies to cover his shameful record.”[48]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" 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.[49]

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.”[50] 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.[2]

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.[2]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Mitch McConnell endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [51]


Mitch McConnell, "Demand Answers"


See also: United States Senate elections in Kentucky, 2014

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.[2] 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.[52]

Primary vulnerability

McConnell was named by National Journal as one of the top five incumbent senators at risk of losing his or her primary election. Four of the five most vulnerable senators were Republican.[53]

Campaign aide

McConnell's 2014 re-election campaign hired Dimitri Kesari, a former Ron Paul campaign aide.[54] Kesari was accused of trying to buy the endorsement of an Iowa state senator in 2012, and faced allegations in November 2013 by a former National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC) employee who said Kesari, who was NRTWC's director of government affairs, broke Iowa state campaign finance rules and misled the Internal Revenue Service about its political activity.[54]

Campaign manager

McConnell's 2014 campaign manager, Jesse Benton, was recorded as telling an Iowa activist during a phone call in January 2013:

"Between you and me, I’m sort of holding my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in ’16, so that’s my long vision."[55]

In response, the campaign's official Twitter account posted a picture of Benton and McConnell with Benton holding his nose and the caption: "Nothing smells worse than #Obamacare! #NoseGate"[56]


TheTeaParty.net, a national tea party group, declared its support for McConnell in 2014.[57] The endorsement will help him defend himself as some tea party activists have endorsed his primary challenger, Matt Bevin, during his 2014 re-election campaign.[57] 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.”[57]

Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced on October 20, 2013 his endorsement for McConnell over Matt Bevin, his tea party challenger.[58]

When asked if he supports McConnell he answered, "I do support Sen. McConnell's bid for re-election. I think he's trying to lead our conference. It's a diverse conference with a lot of different opinions. That's a tough job to begin with. And of course, he's got to represent his own state."[58]

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Kentucky was considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. By the end of 2013, Lundergan Grimes continued to impress with fundraising figures.[59]


McConnell v. Grimes (May 2014 - Present)
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Ed Marksberry (I)Mitch McConnell (R)David Patterson (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
October 15-19, 2014
September 30 - October 2, 2014
Mellman Group
September 4-7, 2014
Public Opinion Strategies
September 1-3, 2014
Public Policy Polling
August 7-10, 2014
July 5-24, 2014
July 18-23, 2014
Gravis/Human Events
July 17-20, 2014
Voter/Consumer Research
June 22-25, 2014
Public Policy Polling
June 20-22, 2014
Public Opinion Strategies
June 14-17, 2014
Magellan Strategies
June 4-5, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
May 28-29, 2014
Wenzel Strategies
May 23-24, 2014
May 14-16, 2014
AVERAGES 44% 0.27% 45.93% 1.53% 7.6% +/-3.62 869
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
McConnell v. Grimes (December 2013 - April 2014)
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Ed Marksberry (I)Mitch McConnell (R)UndecidedSomeone elseMargin of ErrorSample Size
Hickman Analytics
April 24-30, 2014
Gravis Marketing/Human Events
April 15-17, 2014
Kaiser Foundation
April 8-15, 2014
Public Policy Polling
April 1-2, 2014
Wenzel Strategies
February 8-11, 2014
Survey USA
January 30-February 4, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
January 29-30, 2014
Public Policy Polling
January 24-26, 2014
Gravis Marketing/Human Events
January 2, 2014
Public Policy Polling
December 12-15, 2013
AVERAGES 42.3% 1.7% 43.4% 11.2% 1.4% +/-3.98 896.4
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Full history

Campaign donors

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.[65]

Mitch McConnell's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 U.S. Senate (Kentucky) Won $20,991,678
2002 U.S. Senate (Kentucky) Won $5,981,486
Grand Total Raised $26,973,164


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are McConnell's reports.[66]


Top recipients of lobbyist contributions

On a list of Top 10 Recipients of Contributions from Lobbyists in 2013 from Open Secrets, McConnell ranked 4th on the list with $84,700 in lobbyist contributions.[75]


Breakdown of the source of McConnell's campaign funds before the 2008 election.

McConnell won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, McConnell's campaign committee raised a total of $20,991,678 and spent $21,334,523.[76]

Ties to Humana founder

According to a Politico report, McConnell has had ties to David A. Jones Sr., the founder of the health insurance company Humana, for over 30 years. In 2005 Jones was trying to raise funds for Louisville, KY parks. He had asked McConnell for $10 million, but instead, McConnell was able to procure $38 million in a spending earmark. Since the spending earmark, Jones has maintained close ties with Jones. Jones had, as of September 2013, donated $4.6 million to start and continuing funding the McConnell Center at the University of Lousiville. Their relationship, however, predates 2005. Since the founding of McConnell's leadership PAC, the Bluegrass Committee, Jones and his personal and professional relationships have given over $53,000 to the committee. When McConnell was serving as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Jones gave $100,000 during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles. Additionally, Jones donated $98,000 in 2007 to the NRSC during McConnell's last election cycle. In 2009, Humana sent a mailer to its customers that was critical of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid put pressure on the company. McConnell took to the Senate floor to criticize the targeting of Humana. Despite the close relationship with McConnell, Jones and his family donate to both Republicans and Democrats.[77]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, McConnell is a "moderate Republican leader, " as of June 21, 2013.[78]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[79]

McConnell most often votes with:

McConnell least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, McConnell missed 81 of 9,537 roll call votes from January 1985 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.8%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[80]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

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 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.[81]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, McConnell's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $9,230,051 and $36,452,001. That averages to $22,841,026, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. McConnell ranked as the 10th most wealthy senator in 2012.[82]

Mitch McConnell Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

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.[83]


McConnell ranked 11th in the conservative rankings in 2011.[84]

Voting with party


McConnell voted with the Republican Party 90% of the time, which ranked 18th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[85]


McConnell has been married to his wife, Elaine Chao, since 1993. He has three daughters from a previous marriage.[86]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  8. 8.0 8.1 Kansas City Star, "Supreme Court to hear campaign finance law challenge on Tuesday" accessed October 8, 2013
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  25. 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
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  27. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
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  42. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named beshears
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  85. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  86. Official Senate Page "Biography," Accessed October 20, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter Huddleston
U.S. Senate - Kentucky
Succeeded by