McConnell hoped to head off a primary challenge by hiring Paul’s nephew and family operative, Jesse Benton, as his campaign manager. But Matt Bevin and tea party groups aren’t cooperating. Many Bevin supporters are Paul supporters, even though Paul is backing McConnell. Each time McConnell attacks Bevin, it alienates people in the Paul camp, some of whom are peeved Paul back McConnell anyway. When McConnell and Benton look to Paul for help with Bevin, Paul says Bevin is “a good and Christian man.” McConnell is also going after Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund for backing tea party challenges to Republican incumbents. DeMint is a Paul backer and tea party icon.
McConnell lauds Comer for cleaning up the Agriculture Department. But in Rogers’ end of the state some Republicans believe Comer “threw Richie under the bus,” when he teamed with Democratic Auditor Adam Edelen for an investigation that led to Richie Farmer’s indictment.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is close to Rogers. His Majority Leader, Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, aligns himself with tea party sentiment. Increasingly, old hands from the Fletcher administration show up in Stivers’ state Senate operation. Stivers’ wife, Regina, works for McConnell but used to work for Bunning and before that Fletcher, both of whom feel McConnell betrayed them.
It’s downright complicated being a Kentucky Republican these days.
CLARIFICATION: In last week’s column I called Jerry Ford the country’s first un-elected president. A vigilant reader in Somerset reminded me four vice presidents ascended to the top job and were not re-elected. She’s right. But they were chosen by the electorate for a job which presumes its occupant may become president. Ford was appointed vice president.