Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) re-affirmed on Thursday that he will not be heading to Nevada this election cycle to campaign on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle.
"I am not going to Nevada," the Kentucky Republican said, during a breakfast briefing sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
McConnell did not elaborate on his reasons for avoiding the Silver State. But it is likely based on the unspoken tradition that Senate leaders in their respective parties won't directly campaign against each other. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid adhered to that decorum back in 2008 when he avoided attacking McConnell during his reelection bid.
That said, the tradition has been broken in the past, most notably when then Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) went to South Dakota to campaign against then Minority Leader Tom Daschle. And while McConnell has donated to Angle, his decision to forgo a campaign swing through Nevada potentially adds to the narrative that the national Republican Party doesn't know how to deal with the Tea Party candidate.
Already there has been friction between the Nevada Republican and others within the GOP tent. In late July, the Daily Caller quoted Danny Tarkanian -- one of Angle's primary foes -- saying that the other primary opponent, Sue Lowden, was refusing to campaign on Angle's behalf.
"At the state convention, they had what they called the Unity Dinner, where they tried to bring the party together, and they asked me and Sue to introduce Sharron Angle to show all of us together," Tarkanian explained. "I went and did it, but Sue didn't show up for it. She wouldn't do it."
In an even more bizarre twist, on Thursday, Tarkanian's mother announced that she would campaign on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to "call out Sharron Angle's extreme and dangerous positions against Nevada's working families."
McConnell, it should be noted, was overall bullish on the GOP's chances in 2010, in large part because he believes that the Tea Party movement, from which Angle emerged, would come out in droves for GOP candidates
"All I can tell you is if the election were today, my side would have a very good election.... Whether voters are in love with anybody this point, it is pretty obvious they aren't. Congress is sitting on a 28 percent approval rating. But you don't have to be in love to vote for somebody."
The Senate Minority Leader, likewise, was willing to weigh in on other close Senate races. Asked to respond to news that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist might caucus with Democrats should he end up winning that state's Senate seat, McConnell dismissed the issue as moot.
"[Marco] Rubio is going to be the next senator from Florida and we won't have to confront that issue," he said.
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