During his failed Senate campaign in West Virginia last year, Don Blankenship (R) attempted to tie McConnell — without any evidence — to a drug smuggling operation involving a company cargo ship owned by his wife’s family.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell launched his re-election campaign website on Wednesday with a bit of political barb, aimed at liberals still fuming over his blocking of former President Barack Obama’s final pick for the Supreme Court,” USA Today reports.
“When visitors reach a ‘404’ page – basically, when they land on a part of the website that doesn’t exist – it features a background of Judge Merrick Garland standing next to Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.”
From the page: “Oops this page doesn’t exist. But just in case, go donate and make sure it doesn’t come back.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “kicked off his 2020 reelection bid with a video highlighting his successful effort to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland — a move that helped reshape the court and over which Democrats are still fuming,” the Washington Post reports.
The video also includes footage of President Trump hailing McConnell as a “rock-ribbed Kentucky leader” and “one of the most powerful men in the world.”
“McConnell is running for a seventh term. He has previously described his 2016 move to block Garland — and the subsequent confirmation of Neil Gorsuch after President Trump took office — as one of his proudest moments.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky finds just 33% of voters approve of the job Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is doing, while 56% disapprove and 11% are unsure.
“Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a celebrated fighter pilot to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression against a leading Democratic foe,” Politico reports.
“Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Party headquarters last month to pitch her on running against McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has personally courted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to consider leaving his post to run for the Senate, according to people familiar with the effort, a move that could anger President Trump and further roil his tumultuous Cabinet,” the Washington Post reports.
“Senate GOP leaders have been so dedicated to wooing Pompeo to run for an open seat in Kansas that McConnell directly urged him to consider it in a recent telephone call.”
“Saying it was never too soon to start, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally announced his 2020 re-election bid in his home state Saturday and tapped the young leader of the state’s House Republicans as his campaign chairman,” the AP reports.
Said McConnell: “I don’t like starting late.”
In an interview with the Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) “did not rule out a bid against” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2020, “but said, ‘No, I’m worried about being governor. I’m the governor, that’s my focus.’”
“On Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell huddled with a few top aides at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters — but the 2018 midterms weren’t on the agenda,” Politico reports.
“Instead, they pored over plans for McConnell’s own far-off 2020 reelection campaign.”
“The early discussions, which were detailed by more than a half-dozen of McConnell’s closest advisers and allies, reflects the leader’s long-held penchant for intensive — some would say obsessive — preparedness and planning.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds 74% of Kentuckians disapprove of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) job performance, while only 18% approve.
Furthermore, just 27% of state residents approved of the Republican health care bill which went down to defeat.
New York Times: “Now, Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign is in the tank, with poll numbers so dismal he was kicked off the main stage of the Republican presidential debate last week in North Charleston, S.C. But even if Mr. Paul were to drop his presidential bid, his name would remain on the ballot in the Kentucky caucus on March 5. Some in the state say he risks losing a contest that he himself engineered — a development that could prove embarrassing in his other race, the one for the Senate.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his allies “are quietly ratcheting up pressure on Rand Paul to pay more attention to his Senate reelection next year — and less to his flagging 2016 presidential candidacy,” Politico reports.
“So far, those efforts have stopped short of urging the Kentucky senator, whose presidential bid McConnell has formally endorsed, to outright abandon his national campaign. But there are growing concerns that Paul, as a senator still in his first term in office, is courting trouble by dividing his time between the two races, raising the prospect that a rock-ribbed Republican seat could be put into play and jeopardize McConnell’s fragile 54-seat GOP majority.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “is under increasing pressure from Republicans here and in Washington to pull the plug on his stagnant presidential campaign and instead recommit his resources to keeping his Senate seat in GOP hands,” Politico reports.
“D.C. Republicans think Paul’s poll numbers have flat-lined — and operatives worried about retaining control of the Senate are ready for him to start spending a lot more time in Kentucky and a lot less time in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), “whose presidential campaign has been buffeted by fundraising disappointments and flagging poll numbers, is facing new challenges in his home state of Kentucky,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Members of the Kentucky Republican party are pressing Mr. Paul to make good on a promise to pay for a new GOP presidential nomination caucus — a costly shift from the existing primary system that was tentatively approved at the senator’s behest earlier this year.”
Politico: Rand Paul faces emerging doubts at home
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Sen. Rand Paul’s “push for a Republican presidential caucus in Kentucky, lending heavy weight Tuesday to a proposal that had raised concerns among some members of the state GOP’s executive committee,” the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
“Paul’s push for a caucus in early 2016 would allow him to run for two offices in the same year despite a Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot twice.”
“At some point you have to start asking whether Matt Bevin should be medicated. The guy has no grasp on reality whatsoever and his delusions of grandeur are simply breathtaking.”
— GOP strategist Josh Holmes, quoted by the Lexington Herald Leader, on Matt Bevin’s (R) claim he would have won last year’s Senate election “more handily” than Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
National Journal: “Rand Paul could have a financial edge over many of his prospective presidential rivals… due to a quirk in timing and election law that allows him to tap his biggest donors for campaign cash twice. Paul has said he plans to seek Senate reelection and, if he runs, the Republican presidential nomination simultaneously. And because he would be campaigning for two federal offices, he would be eligible to have two open federal campaign committees.”
“While federal rules do limit how he could spend the money, veteran election lawyers say diligent accounting could allow for legal cost-sharing between the two committees.”
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) told WHAS-TV that she might take Sen. Rand Paul (R) to court to block him from running both for president and reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Said Grimes: “The law is clear. You can’t be on the ballot twice for two offices.”
She added: “We’ll look to the court for any guidance that is needed. And at the end of the day, we’re not going to be bullied.”