by Thomas Novelly, Louisville Courier Journal –
Mitch McConnell is one of the most prominent political figures in the country. Here are five facts about the Kentucky senator you may not have known. Valeria Merino/Courier-Journal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is breaking records for his time spent in D.C., and he doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.
On June 12, McConnell will be the longest-serving Republican leader in American history, and its a title he hopes to hold on to in the coming months and even with a possible reelection in 2020.
Next month, McConnell, 76, will surpass former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who was the Republican leader of the Senate from 1985 until 1996, according to the Senate Historical Office.
McConnell is Kentucky’s longest-serving senator, a benchmark he surpassed in 2009. He served as the Senate minority leader from 2007 to 2015 and has been the majority leader from 2015 to the present.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve enjoyed the confidence of my members,” McConnell said in an interview with Politico. “And I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been reelected without opposition.”
McConnell currently holds on to a very slim Republican majority in the Senate, just 51 of the 100 seats, and the Kentucky senator is consistently rated as one of the least-liked national politicians.
But despite the threat of a blue wave, McConnell intends to run again to be the majority leader and run for reelection in 2020, according to Politico. Kentucky has not elected a Democratic senator since 1992.
“He’s in a job he’s made for and meant for,” Janet Mullins Grissom, who ran McConnell’s first Senate campaign in 1984 and went on to be his first chief of staff, told Politico. “He has every intention of running again and remaining leader just as long as his colleagues will elect him.”
The only person that has publicly floated challenging McConnell recently has been Matt Jones, the 39-year-old host and founder of Kentucky Sports Radio. In a profile by Politico last month, Jones said he’d consider taking on one of Kentucky’s longest-serving politicians.
“What has Mitch McConnell done to help Kentucky?” Jones said. “Mitch McConnell has been a master — a master at helping wealthy business interests get wealthier. If there is a rich guy Hall of Fame, he should be in it.”
The longest-serving Senate leader, Republican or Democrat, was Sen. Mike Mansfield of Montana. The Democrat held the majority leadership spot from 1961 to 1977.
“The two best qualities to have in this job is to have a thick hide and to be a good listener because what I’m always doing is trying to get as much consensus as I can and try to achieve as much as what we can,” McConnell told Politico.
McConnell, however, has consistently denied requests by groups to hold town hall meetings in Louisville and in Kentucky.
Thomas Novelly can be reached at 502-582-4465 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/tomn.