Mitch McConnell's Surprise Debt Limit Vote May Help, Not Hurt, Re-Election Bid

There was an audible gasp in the Senate gallery this week when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted “aye” to cut off a potential GOP filibuster of critical legislation to raise the $17.2 trillion debt ceiling.

A long-time opponent of raising the nation’s borrowing limit without reining in costs elsewhere in the budget, McConnell, R-Ky., was expected to vote “no,” but instead played a critical role in ensuring its passage.

He’s not only a fiscal conservative, but McConnell is also facing a Tea-Party backed primary opponent, making his support of the legislation not only a surprise, but a potential political risk.

But McConnell's move to push the legislation toward passage probably did more to save his re-election bid than hurt it, at least according to the latest polls.

Republicans are just six seats away from retaking the majority, with many vulnerable Senate Democrats sinking in popularity because of the troubled rollout of the health law.

If Republicans take over the Senate, McConnell is likely to be elected majority leader.

“Obviously they wanted to be uninhibited to the finish line in terms of keeping the focus on Obamacare,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told the Examiner. “I think what McConnell did was smart in terms of Republicans winning the Senate in 2014.” 

Read more from Susan Ferrechio at the Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy