McConnell cements his standing in GOP history

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday will become the longest-serving Senate Republican leader in history, surpassing former Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.), a testament to his canny political skills and loyalty within the GOP conference.

Tuesday will be McConnell’s 4,179th day as Senate Republican leader, according to the Senate Historical Office, a position he ascended to on Jan. 3, 2007, after Republicans lost control of both chambers of Congress.Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) is expected to mark McConnell’s record-setting tenure with a floor speech Tuesday.As the Senate Republican leader, McConnell has kept a steady hand on the party through two political revolutions within the GOP: the emergence of the Tea Party in 2009 and 2010 and the election of President Trump, a stunning upset that even surprised many Republicans.

McConnell helped his party come back from a disastrous defeat in the 2008 elections to regain power across the government, including control of the White House, Senate, House and 33 governorships.

After becoming the Senate majority leader in January 2015, McConnell and his caucus blocked former President Obama’s nominee to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, preserving a conservative majority. The move enraged Democrats but may end up being McConnell’s most lasting legacy given the confirmation of Trump’s pick for the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
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