Rumors are surfacing that the 79-year old Kentucky Senator is reportedly on his way out and seeking his worthy replacement.
Following Biden’s Inauguration
After handily beating Democrat challenger Amy McGrath in the last election 57.8% to 38.2%, victories are coming in fewer for the Senator. Following Biden’s inauguration, Trump turned his ire on McConnell and other “soft” Republicans, blaming them for losing majorities in the House and the Senate. The former President also condemned the GOP’s archaic way of politics, which he said would just help Democrats win instead.
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Multiple sources from The Intercept said that McConnell is pushing for new Kentucky legislation that ensures the incumbent can choose his successor. The sources said that McConnell raised “health concerns” and “the makeup of the upper chamber” as some of the given reasons he wants to ensure his successor. However, some GOP officials called the plans an “escape hatch” for the senator.
Changes in Kentucky Succession Laws
At present, the state’s Governor appoints the replacement for any departing Senator. Kentucky’s current Governor, Andy Beshear, is a Democrat, will most likely pick a Democrat to fill the remaining term. The Kentucky legislature is currently drafting a bill that allows the incumbent party of a departing US Senator to select his replacement. McConnell’s office confirmed that the senator was on board with the changes. “Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure,” a spokesperson said.
The Intercept reported that McConnell is working behind the scenes in the Kentucky General Assembly. The bill would remove the power from the governor and place it in the incumbent party. For now, the bill will benefit the state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, who many believe is the preferred successor to Mitch McConnell.
Senate Bill 228
“The new legislation, Senate Bill 228, dubbed by some inside the state Legislature as the Daniel Cameron Election Bill, was filed on February 10, 2021, during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 30-day ‘short’ session,” The Intercept’s Nick Storm reported.
Instead of the governor, the bill authorizes a state executive committee from the same party as the departing senator. Specifically, the committee will submit three names for consideration. If approved, this law will require the governor to choose the replacement from the list.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron
Daniel Cameron is Kentucky’s first black attorney general and is reportedly a McConnell protégé who is the top choice to replace him. The 35-year old Attorney General made a name for himself last summer when he called for peace and due process amid a tumultuous situation in Louisville. Riots threatened the state after the announcement that officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor won’t face murder charges. also made an impression with conservatives during the Republican National Convention in August.
Two other names surfaced as potential Mitch McConnell successors. They are former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams. While both are prominent Republicans in their home state, neither have the national profile of Cameron.
Kentucky State Senator Tom Buford told The Intercept that legalization to change who would replace a senator isn’t a new idea. Buford said they first considered the idea in 2017 after a neighbor violently attacked Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Consequently, the state Republican Party feared a Democrat appointment in case any of the two GOP Senators become incapacitated. “It just seemed if we did have a change of venue of US Senate that it would be proper and appropriate the political party that held the office would be the political party that replaced it until the next election cycle, that being, in this case, Republican,” Buford said. He also referred to Paul’s violent attack, which left him severely injured. “That could have resulted in death, so … it sounded like a good idea,” Buford added.
Is Mitch McConnell Retiring?
Also, sources claim that McConnell’s desire to consider retirement is due to his age and health. Now, his desire is to cement his legacy by ensuring the GOP retains his seat if he leaves. If he finishes his current term, McConnell will be 84 years old. With his condition and the bad blood with Trump, re-election in 2025 seems far-fetched.
Watch the WHAS 11 video reporting that a proposed Kentucky bill could change how senators are replaced:
Should Mitch McConnell retire sooner than later? Or, do you think he can still play a major role for the next few years? Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.