Sen. McConnell’s re-election campaign manager, Jesse Benton, has resigned. This comes as Kent Sorenson pleads guilty to false campaign finance reports. As a then-state Senator, Sorenson was a paid operative for the Bachmann campaign, but then accepted thousands of dollars from the Ron Paul campaign to endorse the Texan. However, this was not reported to the Federal Election Commission. This led to the Paul’s campaign going under investigation.
Benton has been working for the Paul’s for quite awhile. He worked for the Paul campaign in 2008, which is where he met Paul’s granddaughter, Valori. The two later married. Later, Benton managed Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign in Kentucky.
Benton appeared to be an odd fit for the McConnell campaign. His selection as campaign manager served as a sign for the Tea a Party members who backed Paul that they could support McConnell and it strengthened the ties between the McConnell and Paul camps. However, Benton was caught on tape saying that he was “holding my nose” while working for McConnell.
Read Benton’s statement:
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.
“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.”