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Jesse Benton holds his nose while standing next to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Something definitely smells
Wowza. In a late Friday news dump right before the start of the three-day holiday weekend, Mitch McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton resigned because of his connections to a bribery scandal involving the 2012 GOP presidential primary. So what the hell's going on? Here's the background: Last week, former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to charges that he lied about accepting $73,000 from Ron Paul's campaign in exchange for switching his endorsement from Michele Bachmann ahead of his state's crucial caucuses. Sorenson now faces up to 25 years in prison—and the investigation is ongoing.

Oh, and guess who was running Ron Paul's campaign when all this went down? Yep, Jesse Benton. It's also not the first time that Benton has caused serious agita for his now-former boss. McConnell only hired Benton in the first place because he faced a tea-fueled challenge in his own primary earlier this year; evidently the idea was that Benton, a Paulist acolyte who's also tight with Kentucky's much more popular junior senator, Rand Paul, would sprinkle some of his Ayn Rand fairy dust on McConnell's unloved and unlovable campaign.

But last year, an audio recording surfaced of Benton admitting that he was "sorta holdin' my nose for two years" by working for McConnell, because "what we're doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in '16." That caused some serious embarrassment for McConnell, of course, who tried to "own" the moment by posing for a humiliating photo with Benton actually squeezing his snout shut. I'm sure Mitch would like to punch him in the neck now—though perhaps the feds will do so for him.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and Daily Kos.

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