Mitch McConnell's campaign manager steps down
August 29th, 2014
07:32 PM ET
7 years ago

Mitch McConnell's campaign manager steps down

(CNN) - A little more than two months before Election Day, Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, stepped down Friday, resigning amid a long-brewing controversy involving Benton's ties to Ron Paul's presidential bid in 2012.

"With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted," Benton said in a statement issued by McConnell's campaign. "Effective Saturday, August 30th, I will no longer be the 'Team Mitch' campaign manager."

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Benton was chairman of Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign. This week a former Iowa state senator, Kent Sorenson, pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting payment from Paul's campaign in exchange for supporting the former Texas congressman ahead of the Iowa GOP presidential caucuses in January 2012.

It's unknown whether Benton was aware of those payments, but according to the Washington Post there have been media reports indicating Benton was involved in the courting of Sorenson.

Sorenson had previously been a supporter of rival Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign - from whom he also accepted money, he admitted - and his departure was considered a controversial move at the time.

Benton did not elaborate on the issue or mention Sorenson by name in his statement, only saying, "there have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue."

"However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign," he added, referring to McConnell's campaign.

The Senate Republican leader is in a tight race against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.

Ron Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul, is currently laying the groundwork for a presidential bid of his own. Benton served as Rand Paul's campaign manager in his 2010 Senate campaign in Kentucky.

Last year Benton made headlines after a secretly recorded phone call was made public, in which Benton had expressed half-hearted support for McConnell, his boss, and eagerness to move on to Rand Paul's team in 2016.

In his statement Friday, Benton said working for McConnell has been "one of the great honors" of his life and described him as a "friend."

A spokesman for Rand Paul had no comment on the recent news involving Sorenson and Benton.

Benton's full statement:

There is no more important cause for both Kentucky, my new home I have come to love, and our country than electing Mitch McConnell Majority Leader of the United States Senate. I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way.

That includes myself.

Recently, there have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue. I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity.

The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false.

However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign.

Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record. This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.

With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted. Effective Saturday, August 30th, I will no longer be the “Team Mitch” campaign manager.
The good news is that most of my work has been done. We have built a top flight team of incredible people that are working tirelessly to ensure Mitch's re-election. They are a finely oiled machine and will not skip a beat without me.

This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country.

James 16:33

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitch McConnell • Ron Paul
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    If the Koch brothers gave them horses, even RWNJs would ride.

    September 1, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    What was I thinking, the Kochs never gave away anything.

    September 1, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Tampa Tim
    Gunnysack – Let me help you. Bain and Mittens bought out American companies, sold off parts of them, put American workers out of jobs, and shipped those jobs overseas. Who cares? Obviously not RWNJs.
    ----------

    What a sad day in America. RWNJ's are not only complaining people aren't content enough to have ONE decent job to work at to support their families, its now become a "get out and work TWO jobs" mentality from the basement bloggers living off their mommy's and daddy's largess.

    September 1, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Lizzie

    Tampa Tim, most of THOSE companies already filed for bankruptcy, with workers out of jobs, lot of the companies got saved, with INVESTORS putting a lot of money into them and restructuring. Some however could not be saved, due to the PRIOR MISMANAGEMENT. But according to you investors should lose their money and NOT get any back. But you applaud that the stock market is up, you don't want to lose money(guess you own stocks or maybe a 401K) , now do you.

    September 1, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Gunderson

    Whazzat?,
    Koch Bro's never gave away anything? Does jobs count? Well you do have to work for your pay but it's always been that way. Shucks, I pay a guy $1000.00 a day to do all my worrying for me. Where do i get the money? That's the first thing he has to worry about.

    Heck Annoymous, I thought the Economy was getting better! My Oil Wells are pumping at full blast and my Gold Mines are putting out Ore to beat the band. So how is it down there in the Nanny State? How come Romney so smart and you are still working for peanuts? Welcome to the Club!

    So far there is no free lunch as hard as the Liberal's are selling it. But Cheer up, the Depression is just over the hill!

    September 1, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Lizzie – Not so. Many companies were doing well, turning a profit, but it was not enough for some of those "INVESTORS" ( are you yelling?). There were tax breaks taken after they ruined the companies. Bottom line, those jobs were shipped overseas.

    September 1, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    The Kochs made a record $38 billion in profit last year. To celebrate their windfall, they fired 3500 employees.

    September 1, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. rs

    Lizzie
    Tampa Tim, most of THOSE companies already filed for bankruptcy, with workers out of jobs, lot of the companies got saved, with INVESTORS putting a lot of money into them and restructuring. Some however could not be saved, due to the PRIOR MISMANAGEMENT. But according to you investors should lose their money and NOT get any back. But you applaud that the stock market is up, you don't want to lose money(guess you own stocks or maybe a 401K) , now do you.
    ________________________
    I doubt it Liz- the approach is more nuanced than that- for example- just because a company closes- why should the investors be the only one spared loss? Why NOT the workers? Yet, the GOP opposes unemployment compensation, or federal worker re-training program, or even bailing out American cities that face financial problems owing to corporate closures. No, no, blame the worker for the corporate mis-management, but spare those investors- despite there being no certainty in the market.
    Meanwhile the GOP still votes against equal pay laws, or increasing the minimum wage, or anything that protects unions (probably the single greatest cause for middle-class wealth since WWII) or actually builds the economy. They still see no value in humans from the sub-millionaire class- except of course to screw and build corporate profits- which benefits moral-less people like the Romneys or the Kochs.

    September 1, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Longtimer

    Bigwilliestyles
    Nixon-Watergate, Reagan-Iran/Contra, GW Bush-WMDs, Plame. Republicans love criminals instinctively.
    __________________
    Don't forget Bush one and the Savings & Loan scandal- that Jeb was into up to his eyeballs.

    September 1, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Gunderson
    So far there is no free lunch as hard as the Liberal's are selling it. But Cheer up, the Depression is just over the hill!

    If you are part of the Republican 1% lunch is always free. Sugar Daddies like Dick Cheney and the Kock Brothers are always ready to strong arm Congress to feed corporations like Exxon/Mobile, Halliburton and Grumman.

    September 1, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Gunderson

    Well,
    I know some people thing easy street is just over the next hill. But when has there ever been smooth sailing in the country, the world. If you want something you have to fight and scrap for it. Re-Visit the Plight of the Pilgrims. Again, I will remind you, BEGGERS CAN'T BE CHOOSERS! When someone works for something and the Government passes laws that takes too much, business leave, or shut down. or lay off workers. Aesop's Fable about Killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg hasn't went away.

    September 1, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    How ironic. Today we celebrate Labor Day, while jerks like McConnell work to destroy organised labor.

    September 1, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Chris..E.Al

    Of course jobs are being shipped overseas companies are being badgered by leftist government regulations and the threat of dems wanting to tax the companies unto they are bankrupt or need a gov takeover . Its sink or swim and the leftist are wanting the sink part . Its just madness to bite the hand that feeds you .

    September 1, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    --if you have guts, ask congress to reduce corporate tax. O.k. It the congress the worst in history.

    September 1, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Longtimer

    Chris..E.Al
    Of course jobs are being shipped overseas companies are being badgered by leftist government regulations and the threat of dems wanting to tax the companies unto they are bankrupt or need a gov takeover .
    ++++++++++++++
    So why doesn't the GOP change the laws that allow companies benefit from being overseas- oh, yeah, they hate America.

    September 1, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. just asking

    Longtimer
    Chris..E.Al
    Of course jobs are being shipped overseas companies are being badgered by leftist government regulations and the threat of dems wanting to tax the companies unto they are bankrupt or need a gov takeover .
    ++++++++++++++
    So why doesn't the GOP change the laws that allow companies benefit from being overseas- oh, yeah, they hate America.
    ---

    because democrats control two thirds of the government. where is the presidential leadership? oh yeah, obama's been calling companies unpatriotic. there's your 'leadership'. leftist attack rhetoric.

    September 1, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. it must be said

    While ISIS runs wild, Obama's policy is ISIT, and twiddle thumbs, deeply worried I might have to do something. Who can I blame for this?

    September 1, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Chris..E.Al
    Of course jobs are being shipped overseas companies are being badgered by leftist government regulations

    You mean pesky leftist regulations like not contaminating our air, water and land? Hiring people other than white men? Making sure workers are outfitted with personal protective equipment like hard hats and respirators? Yeah, the lefties are the cause of jobs going overseas, not NAFTA that President George H. W. Bush and Congress rammed down our throats. And yes, I am fully aware of the fact That President Bill Clinton signed it into law. That was an idiotic move and the right wing STILL call him a liberal.

    September 1, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Rusty Krus

    @it must be said
    While ISIS runs wild, Obama's policy is ISIT, and twiddle thumbs, deeply worried I might have to do something. Who can I blame for this?

    What "must be said" is the fact that your boys Bush and Cheney are the root cause for ISIS to even exist by destabilizing the Mid East with lies and filthy greed. Get over your hatred for our black President and try to do something positive for a change and badger your Congressman to WORK and not crucify the President.

    September 1, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Tampa Tim

    It must be sad – In case you missed it, Iraqi forces storm town, end siege. Fox did not tell you that, because they are still living in the Bush Doctrine Error.

    September 1, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Sad guy – The only thing you RWNJs can do is spread fear, and you are starting to lose that battle. Most people are not as stupid as Fox viewers.

    September 1, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Why is ISIS driving American made military equipment ?

    It reminds me of when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia , another cancer caused by a vacuum of stability .

    When will Islam stand up against the injustice of fundamentalist religious Neanderthals .

    September 1, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Tampa Tim

    So far, the RWNJ fear machine is predicting a depression, children with Ebola at the border beheading RWNJs, ISIS coming across the border in Texas, Burger King going to Canada, government regulations preventing billionaires from paying less than the minimum wage, and nothing but gloom and doom. Talk about a downer being a teabagger.

    September 1, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Tampa Tim

    There was no ISIS until Bush destabilized the Middle East.

    September 1, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Bigwilliestyles

    @Lizzie 'PRIOR MISMANAGEMENT' is that the same thing that brought on the TARP rescue? You know, when the Bush admin gave a ton of money to the same folks that MISMANAGED their 'INVESTORS' money in the first place?

    September 1, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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