The Kentucky Herald-Leader is reporting that Jesse Benton, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager has said he will resign over a bribery scandal that he fears could become too big of a distraction to the Kentucky Republican’s reelection bid.
Benton acted as political director for former Rep. Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and has since been accused of being personally involved in bribing former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson to move from Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign to his. Sorenson plead guilty to accepting at least $73,000 in concealed funds from the Paul campaign in 2012.
“This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country,” Benton told the paper Friday, while maintaining his innocence and laying blame “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors.” He said Sen. McConnell “reluctantly accepted” his resignation.
McConnell led Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes 44 to 40 percent in a survey taken by Public Policy Polling earlier this month. If he wins reelection and Republicans take back the Senate, he will almost certainly take over the role of Senate Majority Leader.