Kentucky senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have pledged mutual respect and support for one another since the midterm elections returned McConnell, a 20-year incumbent, to the chamber and, in all likelihood, to the Senate Majority Leader's seat.
Paul told The Washington Post
on Wednesday that he anticipates McConnell will breeze into the Senate’s leadership post considering his decisive re-election.
"I’ll be for Senator McConnell," Paul told the Post. "I also haven’t heard of anything being planned against him or the rest of the leadership team. I believe he will have an overwhelming win when the time comes."
McConnell also scored points with GOP colleagues by steering money toward their re-election campaigns instead of his own.
"People really appreciate how he was able to win his election on his own and keep the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] money going to those who needed it," Paul said.
The warm feelings between The Bluegrass State’s senior and junior senators are mutual, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader
, which reports that McConnell has pledged his support for Paul should he decide to run for the White House in 2016.
“Obviously, I'm a big supporter of Rand Paul,” McConnell said. “We've developed a very tight relationship, and I'm for him."
"I don't think he's made a final decision on that," he added, referring to a presidential run by Paul. "But he'll be able to count on me."
McConnell told the Herald-Leader that he’s intrigued by a Paul proposal to fund new construction and repairs of crumbling bridges and roads by repatriating overseas capital back to the United States at a rate of 5 percent.
By reducing the existing repatriation rate, as high as 35 percent, U.S. companies would have a greater incentive to bring funds back to the United States, The Hill
reported last year.
Such a plan "could conceivably give us a way to go forward on the Brent Spence Bridge" in Northern Kentucky, he told the Herald-Leader.
McConnell acknowledged that Paul's position "is complicated" since Paul's re-election bid could suffer from the attacks that come with a presidential run, but he said he would reserve any advice he has for Paul for their private conversations, the newspaper reports.
The two Kentuckians have not always enjoyed such a supportive relationship, according to The Hill, which notes that McConnell backed Paul’s primary opponent in 2010.
But McConnell realized that in order to win re-election he needed the backing of Paul and his fellow tea party conservatives. McConnell hired a key Paul aide
to be his campaign manager and in early 2014 Paul endorse McConnell, according to The Hill.
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