Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell portrait 2016.jpg
Senate Majority Leader
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
DeputyJohn Cornyn
John Thune (Designate)
Preceded byHarry Reid
Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2015
DeputyTrent Lott
Jon Kyl
John Cornyn
Preceded byHarry Reid
Succeeded byHarry Reid
Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
LeaderBill Frist
Preceded byHarry Reid
Succeeded byDick Durbin
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Assumed office
January 3, 1985
Serving with Rand Paul
Preceded byWalter Dee Huddleston
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded byChris Dodd
Succeeded byChris Dodd
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byJohn Warner
Succeeded byChris Dodd
Judge/Executive of Jefferson County
In office
Preceded byTodd Hollenbach III
Succeeded byBremer Ehrler
Acting United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs
In office
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byVincent Rakestraw
Succeeded byMichael Uhlmann
Personal details
Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr.

(1942-02-20) February 20, 1942 (age 76)
Sheffield, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Sherrill Redmon
(m. 1968; div. 1980)

Elaine Chao (m. 1993)
EducationUniversity of Louisville (BA)
University of Kentucky (JD)
Net worth$22.5 million (estimate)[1]
SignatureSenate website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1967
UnitUnited States Army Reserve

Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and as Senate Majority Leader. McConnell is the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate and is the longest-serving U.S. Senator from Kentucky in history.

A member of the Republican Party, McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has been re-elected five times since then. During the 1998 and 2000 election cycles, McConnell was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. McConnell was first elected as Majority Whip in the 108th Congress and was re-elected to the post in 2004. In November 2006, McConnell was elected Senate Minority Leader; he held that post until 2015, when Republicans took control of the Senate and he became Senate Majority Leader. Time named McConnell one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2015. In June 2018, McConnell became the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senate leader in the history of the United States.

McConnell was known as a pragmatist and moderate Republican early in his political career but veered sharply to the right over time. During his time in the Senate, McConnell gained a reputation as a skilled political strategist and tactician. McConnell led opposition to stricter campaign finance laws, culminating in the Supreme Court ruling that partially overturned the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold).

During the Obama presidency, McConnell engaged in obstruction, working to withhold Republican support for any major presidential initiatives. In October 2010, McConnell said that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Throughout Obama's tenure, Senate Republicans made frequent use of the filibuster; this meant that any bill needed a supermajority (60 votes rather than 50) to pass the Senate. Senate Republicans also blocked an unprecedented number of Obama's judicial nominees, including Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland; McConnell refused to hold a hearing on the Garland nomination. A number of political scientists and historians have characterized McConnell's obstructionism and "constitutional hardball" as contributors to democratic erosion in the United States.

McConnell endorsed Rand Paul in the 2016 Republican primaries before ultimately supporting then-presumptive nominee Donald Trump. In 2016, after being approached by U.S. intelligence community officials, McConnell refused to give a bipartisan statement with President Obama warning Russia not to interfere in the upcoming election. During the Trump presidency, Senate Republicans—led by McConnell—broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed; those nominees included Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, each of whom was confirmed to the Supreme Court. McConnell later described his decision on the Garland nomination as "the most consequential decision I've made in my entire public career".

Early life and education

McConnell is of Scots-Irish and English descent, the son of Addison Mitchell McConnell, and his wife, Julia (née Shockley). McConnell was born on February 20, 1942, in Sheffield, Alabama, and raised as a young child in nearby Athens.[2] His original ancestor had emigrated from County Down, Northern Ireland to North Carolina.[3]

As a youth, McConnell overcame polio,[4] which he was struck with at age 2.[5] He received treatment at the Warm Springs Institute in Georgia, which potentially saved him from being disabled for the rest of his life.[6] In 1990, McConnell said that his family "almost went broke" because of costs related to his illness.[7]

When he was eight, McConnell's family moved to Georgia.[8] When he was a teenager, his family moved to Louisville, where he attended duPont Manual High School. He graduated with honors from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in political science in 1964. McConnell was president of the Student Council of the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He has maintained strong ties to his alma mater and "remains a rabid fan of its sports teams."[9] In 1967, McConnell graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was president of the Student Bar Association.

In March 1967, shortly before graduating from law school, McConnell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve at Louisville, Kentucky. In August 1967, after five weeks of military training at Fort Knox, he received an honorable discharge for medical reasons (optic neuritis).[10][11]

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