Rand Paul, McConnell Forge Unlikely Partnership

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Paul used his clout among conservatives to help his fellow Kentucky Republican win re-election last year.

When Rand Paul first ran for the Senate, he faced a powerful home-state antagonist in Sen. Mitch McConnell. Now, as Mr. Paul prepares to run for president, a five-year effort to bury the hatchet has forged an odd-couple partnership that is an unseen force in both the 2016 presidential campaign and the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Paul used his clout among conservatives to help Mr. McConnell, his fellow Kentucky Republican, win re-election last year and fulfill a long-held goal of becoming Senate majority leader.

Now Mr. McConnell is helping to advance Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign, and contributed to an important victory for him Saturday. The state GOP’s executive committee endorsed Mr. Paul’s request, backed by Mr. McConnell, to establish a presidential caucus, despite concerns about financial and political costs. This would allow Mr. Paul to circumvent state law that bars him from appearing on the primary ballot both for the White House and re-election to the Senate.

“I thought it was important to show my support,’’ Mr. McConnell said in an interview. “We’ve developed over the last four years a very close and good working relationship.”

Political couples don’t get much odder. Mr. Paul is a maverick and tea-party champion who last year derided “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans. The disciplined, buttoned-up Mr. McConnell is beloved by that business group, whose Kentucky chapter last month held a banquet to honor him.

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