McConnell hires campaign staffer, donates to House candidates in ramp up to 2020 re-election bid

05/11/2018 03:00 PM

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is getting ready to defend his seat in the upper chamber once again — hiring staff and cracking into his political goodwill war chest well ahead of the 2020 re-election campaign.

Shane Noem is the first hire on his campaign team in Kentucky, in what is the earliest McConnell has started his campaign efforts ahead of a re-election contest.

Noem is a McConnell senior political staffer, working with the team in 2014, and later as a Field Representative in control of 25 counties in Northern and North Eastern Kentucky.

Since Monday, Noem is operating as a jack-of-all trade for the political campaign.

“Shane Noem was an important part of my 2014 campaign, after which he joined my official staff in 2015, where he did an outstanding job as a Field Representative in Northern Kentucky,” McConnell said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that Shane has now joined my 2020 re-election effort, where he will work in all 120 counties to help build our statewide, grassroots organization.”

McConnell is rather famous for his early campaign efforts; he started laying the ground work for a bid for student president in high school years before the race. He also often borrows in his remarks from Happy Chandler, who famously said, “you can start too late, but never too soon.”

Scott Jennings, a veteran of several McConnell campaigns, told Pure Politics he’s “not surprised” the 2020 campaign is already off the ground, adding the early start is a strong sign of his future.

“Sen. McConnell always says you can start too late but never too early. This strikes me as a strong signal that McConnell is feeling bullish on the GOP in Kentucky and nationally,” Jennings said. “President Trump couldn’t have a better governing partner when you look at all they’ve accomplished together.

“Being on the ballot together in 2020 would allow them to make the joint case about peace, prosperity, and a rebalancing of the judiciary they’ve done,” he continued. “I think Kentucky is happy with the Trump/McConnell agenda results.”

As the state and nation’s most strategic political mind, McConnell is leaving little to chance, and has also not taken his foot off the gas when it comes to fundraising for the campaign.

Some of those hard won campaign dollars are going right back out of the door for McConnell, who is also cracking open his leadership PAC, Bluegrass Committee, in an effort to seed campaigns in the state House.

McConnell is digging deep before the primary, donating $142,000 to 71 Republican candidates in Kentucky, mainly incumbents and some primary candidates with no opponents, ahead of the May 22 primary.

“Senator McConnell is doing what he always does: aggressively support Republican candidates in Kentucky. Thus far in 2018, his Bluegrass Committee PAC has donated $142,000 to 71 General Assembly candidates,” Said Tres Watson, the Republican Party of Kentucky communications spokesman. “Senator McConnell has been and continues to be one of the strongest advocates for Republican candidates at the statewide level.”

State Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, lauded the fundraising help from the patriarch of the Kentucky Republican Party.

“Senator McConnell has always been a strong supporter of our Senate Republican majority, and I am very pleased that he is taking advantage of the new increased contribution limits and supporting our in-cycle members so early in the election year,” he said.

McConnell is expected to give more later this year to candidates at home and around the country, as he defends the state House majority and his spot as Majority Leader in the United States Senate.


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