From NBC's Carrie Dann
Just how much does Mitch like Mike? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a longtime ally to fellow Kentuckian Mike Duncan, the RNC Chairman who reportedly hopes to continue in the post. Duncan will have to weather challenges from a possibly crowded field of would-be successors, including former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, former Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman, and South Carolina GOP head Katon Dawson. Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis announced his candidacy for the post yesterday.
But will the powerful McConnell, whom George Will called "Washington's most important Republican and second-most consequential elected official" in a column today, pull strings to protect Duncan's tenuous hold on the chairmanship? When a hometown paper -- the Louisville Courier-Journal -- asked the Kentucky senator's shop, a spokesman declined to offer a yes-or-no, instead issuing this Rorschach-test statement: "Senator McConnell believes that Chairman Duncan is an intelligent, experienced man and did an excellent job as RNC Chair this year. He looks forward to working closely with Mike in the months and years ahead as they both work to serve Kentucky and their Party."
McConnell himself declined an interview.
And McConnell is not the only Kentuckian not issuing a ringing formal endorsement of Inez, KY native Duncan. First District Congressman Rep. Ed Whitfield (R) told the Courier-Journal that Duncan is "a fine fellow and everything, but I think we've got to move in a new direction."