(LEX 18) — Judges. Hemp. Taxes. Trump.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign on Wednesday with a Twitter video highlighting what the powerful Kentucky Republican sees as his accomplishments for the country and the commonwealth.
The slickly produced video mixes images of Washington, D.C., and Kentucky with news clips and campaign rally footage.
President Donald Trump, with whom McConnell had an initially fraught relationship that since has turned into a seemingly close partnership, is featured prominently.
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) April 17, 2019
“We have a man, one of the most powerful men in the world … and he’s from Kentucky,” Trump says in featured rally footage, returning later to call him “rock-ribbed” and “Kentucky tough,” which also is used as a campaign tagline.
The video begins with images of former President Barack Obama introducing Merrick Garland as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, and McConnell’s decision not to give him a confirmation vote in the Senate. The controversial and partisan move led, after Trump’s election, to the elevation of two conservative judges to the high court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
The campaign video pivots to pocketbook issues, including his move to establish industrial hemp as a commodity through the latest Farm Bill and his work pushing through tax cuts.
The decision to run for re-election was not a surprise.
McConnell was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and assumed the top leadership position in 2015.
He is unlikely to draw any serious challenge from his own party, and the ability or will of Democrats in the state to take him on is an ongoing question.
McConnell won his last election, in 2014, handily — beating Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes by more than 220,000 votes.
It’s not clear who might challenge him this time around, although “Hey Kentucky” host Matt Jones told Politico and others last year he might consider it and believes he could win.
In a bit of probable light trolling, McConnell’s video uses audio of Jones reporting on McConnell’s work promoting industrial hemp.