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Here’s Why Mitch McConnell is Sticking Around as Long as Possible

Erik Sofranko

Posted on October 27, 2021 04:25

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was re-elected to his seventh term in the U.S. Senate in November 2020 after facing a tough race against strong Democratic challenger Amy McGrath.

Senator McConnell of Kentucky has been in office since 1985 and the leader of Senate Republicans since 2007, having served as both minority and majority leader in the U.S. Senate. He just started serving his seventh term in the U.S. Senate earlier this year and has been questioned by many in both major parties as to how long he wants to remain in the political arena. McConnell has made it clear that he will not be retiring any time soon and will hold his seat as long as he can.

Whenever a U.S. senator retires in the middle of a term, the Governor of the state he or she represents must appoint a replacement senator until a special election can be held. McConnell is operating on this basis.

The Democrat Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, would be the one to fill McConnell’s seat if he chooses to retire before his term expires. This would give the Democrats another seat in the U.S. Senate, at least temporarily. Depending on the results of the 2022 midterm elections, a single Senate seat can easily tip the majority in favor of one party over the other.

Governor Beshear is not up for re-election until 2023, so this puts pressure on McConnell to hold his seat for at least a couple more years. If Beshear is re-elected, McConnell will likely serve the remainder of his seventh term through 2027. At the age of 79, McConnell is the seventh oldest senator. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, both 88, have not announced plans to retire as the oldest senators.

McConnell is known for his skills as a political strategist and tactician. Because of McConnell’s ability to use Senate rules to his advantage, the Judicial Branch has been filled with hundreds of principled conservative federal judges that will have an impact for a generation. Conservatives also recognize him for his ability to confirm Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett during the Trump administration after blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination in the final year of the Obama administration.

However, he is also known for his inability to pass health care reform in 2017 when the Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency after he had spent seven years trying to repeal Obamacare. Some Republicans saw this as a major reason McConnell should no longer be in leadership; because of his inability to get a consensus in his own caucus. This is the same problem the Democrats are now facing with their inability to pass President Biden’s agenda.

Regardless of what some Republicans think of McConnell’s effectiveness as a leader, he is likely there to stay. Former President Trump has been vocal about his resentment for McConnell and has repeatedly called for his retirement, but McConnell will follow his own political strategy just as he has for 36 years in the U.S. Senate.

Erik Sofranko

Posted on October 27, 2021 04:25

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Source: CNN

Read CNN Fast Facts about the life of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky.

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