Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager Resigns

McConnell is the Senate Minority Leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jesse Benton, who had worked as the campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, said Friday he would resign.

The veteran operative with close ties to the Paul family released a lengthy statement making the announcement. The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported Benton’s resignation, which is effective Saturday.

The move comes just two days after a former Iowa state senator admitted to accepting $73,000 in concealed payments from former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In exchange for the money, that individual, Kent Sorenson, switched endorsements from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to Paul, a Texas Republican.

Benton was the elder Paul’s campaign chairman in 2012, having also worked for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Benton maintained his innocence in the conversation with the Herald-Leader, citing “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors.”

Earlier in the day, a McConnell campaign spokeswoman said in a statement that “Senator McConnell obviously has nothing to do with the Iowa Presidential Caucus or this investigation so it would be inappropriate for his campaign to comment on this situation.”

Benton’s full statement appears below:

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.”

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  • Robert Wright

    If you’re going to quote scripture in your resignation, at least get it right. That quote is from John Ch16 v 33. The Epistle of James has only five chapters.

  • Sally

    He quotes scripture? Good grief. And incorrectly too. I guess GOP spends as much time reading their Bibles as they do the Constitution. McConnell has to go.

  • Ripley in CT

    Rats leaving the sinking rats.

  • terjeanderson

    Do they think announcing this late on Friday before a holiday weekend means this will go away?

    Not helpful for Mitch McConnell or Rand Paul.

  • mabramso

    He won’t.

  • AK_Maz

    John 16 not James 16. It makes you look like and even scummier d-bag to misquote the Bible in comparing yourself to CHRIST & you can’t even do that right.

  • Charles Wolf

    Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager Resigns
    Should be:
    Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Manager Resigns in Disgrace.

  • Charles Wolf

    Check out this weasel talk from Benton.
    He claims he resigned over “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors”…
    Translation: it happened Monday, not Tuesday and they haven’t found the smoking gun, yet.

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