McConnell hires tea party strategist to head re-election campaign

Sen. Mitch McConnell announced Thursday that he hired Jesse Benton to oversee a campaign that

In this July 24, 2012, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, following a political strategy session, as from back left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has reached into the upper echelons of the tea party movement for a campaign manager to head his bid for re-election to a sixth term.

McConnell announced Thursday that he hired Jesse Benton to oversee a campaign that's still two years away and still lacking an opponent.

Benton most recently led the Republican presidential race of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who many consider the father of the tea party movement.

McConnell said Benton "is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements."

Benton also headed the 2010 race of Paul's son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

The Bowling Green eye surgeon rose from relative obscurity to win Kentucky's other Senate seat over major candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

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