Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell picked Ron Paul National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton to lead his own reelection bid. In addition to his position with the Paul campaign, Mr. Benton also served as the Senior Vice President of Campaign for Liberty, an organization that supported Mr. Paul’s bid for president.
“We’re committed to running a presidential-level campaign in Kentucky, and that starts with a presidential campaign manager,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement obtained by The Washington Post. “Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign.”
Mr. McConnell’s decision is a strange one for several reasons; the Kentucky Republican’s election is still two years away and Mr. Benton’s previous boss, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, was an anti-establishment politician who has been critical of politicians like Mr. McConnell during his time in office.
Mr. Benton also resigned from his post at the Campaign for Liberty in order to take the job with Mr. McConnell. “As I stand at an important crossroads in my life, I have been blessed with wonderful opportunities but also face difficult choices,” Mr. Benton said in a resignation letter addressed to C4L President John Tate. “After much soul searching, I have decided that my passion lies in direct electoral politics, and I plan to work on campaigns rather than resume my work in grassroots advocacy.”
Although Mr. McConnell’s fundraising efforts are likely to be slightly smaller than the Paul campaign’s grassroots fundraising efforts during the 2012 presidential election, Mr. Benton brings with him a wealth of experience when it comes to online fundraising campaigns.
Given his background with grassroots-level political efforts, Mr. Benton will likely try to dig up a new source of voter support for Mr. McConnell’s reelection bid in 2014.