The Corner

Rand Paul Advised Former Top Aide to Work for McConnell

Jesse Benton is now Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager in the Kentucky Senate race. Benton’s preceding campaign experience? Serving as a top aide in both of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and as campaign manager for Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate bid. He also is a member of the Paul family: Benton married Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Valori, in 2008. The news last fall that Benton was going to work for McConnell surprised many politicos. But it was something Benton says he chose to do with the approval of both Rand and Ron Paul. From my piece today:

When Benton told Rand Paul he was considering taking the job, Paul barely hesitated. “Oh, you got to take it,” Paul told Benton in a phone call, according to Benton. “If they’re interested in you and you think it’s the right fit for you, you got to take it . . . It’s good for you and it’s good for me.’”

The elder Paul, too, was “totally fine” with him becoming McConnell’s campaign manager. “He wants me to be able to provide for his granddaughter and his great-granddaughter,” Benton explains

Benton also hinted that McConnell and his team could prove to be crucial in a Rand presidential bid in 2016:

Benton acknowledges he has talked to the McConnell team about [Rand 2016]. When I ask whether McConnell’s camp would support Paul in a presidential bid, Benton chooses his words carefully.

“Once we win this campaign, there’s going to be a substantial portion of Team Mitch that’s going to fuse with Team Rand,” he remarks, “and I think it’s going to make a really dynamite team.” 

Read the full piece here

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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