Supporters gather to celebrate incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014. With the Republican takeover of the Senate, McConnell is expected to become the new Senate Majority Leader.
Supporters gather to celebrate incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014. With the Republican takeover of the Senate, McConnell is expected to become the new Senate Majority Leader.Christopher Morris—VII for TIME
Supporters gather to celebrate incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014. With the Republican takeover of the Senate, McConnell is expected to become the new Senate Majority Leader.
Mitch McConnell, the senior Senator from Kentucky, votes in the midterm election at Bellarmine University Knights Hall Hallway in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Supporters of Sen. Mitch McConnell attends a campaign rally at Bowman Field Air Hangar in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
A supporter of Sen. Mitch McConnell is seen at a campaign rally at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
Officials help facilitate midterm election voting at Bellarmine University Knights Hall Hallway, Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Supporters of Sen. Mitch McConnell at campaign rally at the Bowling Green-Warren Co. Regional Airport in Bowling Green, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
Supporters of Sen. Mitch McConnell attend a campaign rally at Bowling Green-Warren Co. Regional Airport in Bowling Green, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
Supporters of Sen. Mitch McConnell are seen at a campaign rally at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
A supporter of incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's win at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
A supporter celebrates incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
A supporter of Sen. Mitch McConnell attends a campaign rally at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
A supporter of Sen. Mitch McConnell is seen at a campaign rally at Bowling Green-Warren Co. Regional Airport in Bowling Green, Ky. on Nov. 3, 2014.
A supporter celebrates incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's win at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
A reporter covers Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes outside the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Supporters celebrate incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
A local reporter covers incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes at the Louisville Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Supporters gather to celebrate incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's victory over Alison Lundergan Grimes at the Louisville M
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Christopher Morris—VII for TIME
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Go Inside Senator Mitch McConnell's Winning Campaign

Nov 05, 2014

“Everywhere I look, there’s a little photograph,” says Christopher Morris, a TIME contract photographer who, for the last four days, has been following the next Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

Morris has had a long fascination for the political theater, especially on the Republican side. In his book, My America, he documented Republican nationalism in the US during George W. Bush’s two terms as presidents, and in Americans, released in 2012, he showed, through his melancholic portraits, how severely divided America had become.

Now, after a one-year hiatus away from politics, he’s back in the thick of it. “I’m really intrigued by this Republican world, maybe because of the way they style everything,” Morris says. “For some reason, I find the Republican side much more visual to me. Everything seems very structured and linear,” something he hasn’t found to be true at Democratic rallies.

Morris’ photographs tend to be quiet portraits frozen in time. “It’s very pure and straight photography,” he argues. “I always try to separate my subject from the crowd. I’m more interested in things that come across in very simplistic ways.”

The results are “quirky visual moments,” Morris says, where the fashion, the makeup, the hair, the way people look, stand and frown, take over, pushing aside the political talking points. “I’m fascinated to be in this Republican world, especially with Mitch McConnell in Kentucky… where people have been super optimistic. They feel they are taking the country back from those liberal, college-educated, northeastern elite-type of crowd, and Mitch kind of alludes to that in his speeches. He always says that he’s spent seven years on defense and now he’s going on the offense.”

With the election season now over, Morris is already thinking about 2016. “I’d love to cover [the presidential elections],” he says. “But I never know where my career and my work will take me.”

Christopher Morris is a contract photographer for TIME and represented by VII.

Myles Little, who edited this photo essay, is an associate photo editor at TIME.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ olivierclaurent

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