Success In Washington no longer translates to the ballot box. It’s made Mitch McConnell a target
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Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski saw Mitch McConnell coming, and she was not happy about it. The Republican leader was making his way between the mahogany desks on the Senate floor in February, trying to drum up just five GOP votes to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for zero concessions on spending from the White House.
For Republicans, it was a brutal vote, a cave to the President and an insult to the Tea Party. And Murkowski suspected McConnell had no intention of voting for it himself, not this year. His position back in Kentucky had become perilous. Days earlier, a local newspaper poll found that 32% of his state’s voters approved of his job performance, an approval rating 2 points lower than the same poll gave President Obama. Polls also showed a dead heat between McConnell and the Democrat he hoped to face in November, a situation made no easier by a Tea Party primary challenger’s attacking him as an ideological wimp. At the age of 72, after 29 years in office and on the cusp of potentially becoming majority leader this fall, McConnell had never been more powerful in Washington or less loved where it mattered: back home.