Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a purely political animal; pundits have therefore predicted that he will do anything he can to support Sen. Rand Paul's presidential ambitions. McConnell owes his re-election in part to Paul's support, which helped deflect concerns among grassroots Tea Party groups that the amphibious insider wasn't sufficiently conservative.
Well, McConnell is already paying back that debt by throwing his support behind a plan that would sidestep one of the most irritating obstacles standing between Paul and the presidential race: the Kentucky law that prevents Paul from seeking both the presidency and re-election to the US. Senate in 2016.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, McConnell has endorsed holding a presidential caucus in Kentucky:
Earlier this month, [McConnell's chief of staff Brian McGuire] said in a statement to the Herald-Leader that McConnell would not take a public position on Paul's request for a caucus. McConnell and his allies were concerned that a caucus well ahead of the traditional May primary might distract from efforts to retake the state House. In addition, McConnell had concerns that if Paul wins the national nomination for president and the state nomination for re-election to the Senate, Kentucky law might make it impossible to replace him on the ballot.
That could provide Democrats with a pick-up opportunity in what many observers consider a safely Republican state, threatening McConnell's position as majority leader.
On Tuesday, McGuire said Paul had allayed McConnell's concerns.
"Not only would it be helpful to the senator's presidential campaign but, as a one-time event paid for with funds that he'd raise, would do no damage to the state party or interfere with this year's state races," McGuire said.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican, has also strongly endorsed Rand's plan.