Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rand Paul haven't always seen eye to eye, but last Thursday, they forever cemented in their political relationship.
Some see this move as another example of Senator McConnell's political savvy and survivor skills. Others see it as a sign of the Paul Clan selling out to a more main stream Republicanism.
Says Aaron Blake of the WashingtonPost:
"McConnell announced Thursday that his 2014 Senate campaign will be run by Jesse Benton, who just happens to be a former top aide to Ron Paul — the libertarian congressman that has tangled with the Republican Party establishment— and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who trounced a McConnell-endorsed candidate in a primary just two short years ago.
It’s a bold, outside-the-box move and, at least at first glance, a win-win situation for McConnell.ent for years — and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who trounced a McConnell-endorsed candidate in a primary just two short years ago.
Benton is very well regarded in Washington as a grassroots strategist with an ear to the ground of the tea party movement. McConnell, meanwhile, is the leader of the Republican establishment who wants to avoid the kind of tea party uprising that brought down his protege, former secretary of state Trey Grayson, in the 2010 Senate primary. (Rand Paul trounced Grayson in that race.)"
Rand Paul has made it clear that he will be supporting McConnell in 2014, and his support, as well as the hiring of Benton, is seen as a way for Sen. McConnell to ensure he can have Tea Party support needed to ensure no primary challenger can oust him, such as with Dick Lugar earlier this year. It helps that Benton is also family to the Pauls— he's married to Ron Paul's granddaughter.
Some have looked to this move as a sell out from the grassroots friendly Pauls to the republican establishment. Whatever one feels, Sen. McConnell probably is now confident he's got those grassroots all behind him now.
As for Paul, his family is (by all accounts) slowly but surely climbing toward a Presidential run in the near future for Rand.