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McConnell forges alliance, C-J asks for 'anyone' to challenge him

McConnell forges alliance, C-J asks for 'anyone' to challenge him

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 11:14 PM

(WHAS11 Political Blog) -- Washington is taking notice of the evolving partnership of Kentucky's U.S. Senators, as a major move this week signals the start of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's 2014 campaign.

The alliance of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and upstart freshman Rand Paul is a far cry from the 2010 primary race, when Paul declined to commit to even supporting McConnell to lead the GOP in the Senate.

Politico's Manu Raju writes of the 'odd couple allies:' "behind the scenes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and freshman Sen. Rand Paul are charting anything but divergent paths. They are methodically forming a tight-knit alliance to bridge the divide between the sparring factions of their party, an effort that could boost their own political careers in the process."

McConnell's hiring of a key strategist to Ron Paul and Rand Paul, Jesse Benton,to run his campaign is the latest sign of that alliance.

Raju writes that  2014 "could be the toughest reelection campaign of the Republican leader’s career." 

Yet, as of yet, there is no John Thune to Kentucky's Tom Daschle.  No Democrat has stepped forward or even hinted interest in running against McConnell (despite repeated efforts by influential Democrats to draft former auditor Crit Luallan, who has indicated she is more interested in the 2015 governor's race).

 A Louisville Courier-Journal editorial on Sunday became a "Help Wanted" advertisement for the Kentucky Democratic Party, bemoaning McConnell's Tea Party hire effectively quelled a potential primary challenge.

So it looks like it’s up to Kentucky Democrats to provide the much-needed challenge to Mr. McConnell. Anyone out there?

Bruce Lunsford gave McConnell a run for his money in 2008.  Since then, McConnell has banked $6 million to defend his seat.  Yet, McConnell's greatest campaign asset remains his shrewdness.

Raju writes that the Benton hire was "a major signal to Republicans that McConnell views support from the younger libertarian and tea party movements as crucial not only to his political future, but also to his party’s prospects nationally."

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