Mitch McConnell announces 2020 re-election bid

April 18, 2019

Mitch McConnell announces 2020 re-election bid McConnell Center / CCL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially announced on Wednesday his intent to seek re-election in 2020, and unveiled an innovative and persuasive new campaign advertisement to mark the occasion.

A McConnell victory next year would all but guarantee his continued control of the Republican Senate.

Political heavyweight

McConnell has led Senate Republicans since 2015, and since then he has played an instrumental role in reshaping the Supreme Court into a conservative-leaning institution. The newly released — and nearly three-minute-long — promotional video for his 2020 campaign, titled Kentucky Leads, trumpets the Kentucky senator’s transformative accomplishments, placing particular emphasis on his refusal to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in March 2016.

“Let’s let the American people decide who Americans trust to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell declared eight months before the 2016 presidential election. His new campaign ad captures the historical moment when McConnell stood up to President Barack Obama and the Democratic minority and rejected demands to put Garland’s nomination up for a vote.

Three years later, Democrats are still sour with McConnell, even though the last time a SCOTUS nominee has been confirmed in an election year when the president and Senate were controlled by opposing parties was 1880.

The fact remains that Garland lacked the two-thirds majority required at the time for nomination by the Republican-controlled Senate, yet Democrats demanded that McConnell move forward with this futile exercise anyway.

Watch McConnell’s dramatic campaign video below:

Knock-down, drag-out fighter

Garland’s failed confirmation was not the last time that the Senate majority leader would stand up to his colleagues across the aisle. As demonstrated in his campaign video, McConnell successfully withstood Democratic grandstanding and a calculated smear campaign to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh — the Senate’s second successful Supreme Court nomination in less than a year and a half.

“Mitch McConnell has led the fight for our conservative values in the Senate. Confirming two Supreme Court Justices, cutting government regulations, passing historic middle-class tax cuts, Mitch has delivered on President Trump’s promise to Make America Great Again,” McConnell’s new campaign website explains.

His site goes on to warn: “Left-wing billionaires, progressive activists, and Hollywood liberals will fund our opponent. They will raise millions to flood the airwaves with attack ads and baseless smears.”

McConnell is also proud of what he has accomplished for his constituents in Kentucky, including the passage of a massive farm bill that legalized hemp and benefitted his state’s robust agricultural community. After reviewing these achievements, McConnell’s ad concludes by dubbing the senator “Kentucky tough.”

Sizing up the competition

Although no Democratic contender has stepped forward to try to unseat McConnell next year, someone from the left is likely to take on the responsibility as the campaign season approaches. In 2014, McConnell faced the toughest challenge of a political career going back to 1985 when Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes received nearly 41% of the vote.

Although the senator still won by a comfortable margin, the re-election campaign forced McConnell to spend millions television ads challenging his opponent. Seeking to avoid a repeat performance, the Senate majority leader is getting a early start on what promises to be another competitive election.

This time, however, McConnell will be facing his potential contender with a string of hard-fought political victories under his belt, giving the GOP’s most powerful legislator a leg-up in 2020.

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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.