How Mitch McConnell Made Kentucky History

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is one of the most powerful men in Washington as of this writing. He may not be the majority leader anymore and instead was relegated to minority leader once again in early 2021. But, as long as the Senate still needs 60 votes to pass most legislation, McConnell can ensure that most legislation doesn't get passed. He can even make sure the United States defaults on its credit, which can send the economy spiraling, but, as of this writing, he has already told the media that's what the Republicans plan to do (via The Washington Post). That's a pretty powerful position to be in, and McConnell worked hard to obtain that power.

McConnell also had to work hard as a child just to have a normal life as he was struck with polio as a toddler and admitted that one of his first memories is walking out of a hospital after he recovered to buy his first pair of shoes with his mother, according to ABC News. And when he was elected to Congress as a moderate pro-choice, pro-labor Republican in 1984, he made history in his home state.

Mitch McConnell holds a Senate record

While Kentucky has a Democratic governor as of this writing, Andy Beshear won the position in 2019 by the skin of his teeth as, for decades, Kentucky has been considered a solidly Republican state. But that wasn't always the way. For a long time, many Southern states were Democratic until the parties seemed to switch ideologies — and members — in the mid-20th century. 

In 1984, when Mitch McConnell first won his senate seat, he was the only Republican that year to unseat a Democratic incumbent in a U.S. senate race, according to U.S. News and World Report. And that seat has never gone back to a Democrat since, as McConnell has won re-election after re-election for decades.

Since McConnell has served for so many years as one of two senators from Kentucky (the other being Rand Paul, as of press time), he made history again in 2009 when he became the state's longest-serving senator. Since he just won re-election again for yet another six-year term in 2020, it doesn't look like another senator will beat his record any time soon.