Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), who earlier this year endorsed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a seventh six-year term, recently took to the airwaves to — unintentionally — make a compelling case for why the Senate majority leader should in fact step down.
In a radio interview last week on WKCT’s The Morning Show — first spotted by American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive research organization — Bevin argued that remaining in public office for too long led officials to become inefficient at their jobs.
“Sometimes, the longer you stay in something — disconnected from another something — the less you understand it, the less you’re able to interface with it, the less you’re able to effectively help it,” Bevin observed.
“And I’m a big believer in term limits — I just am — at any level,” he continued. “I think it’s important for us to be citizen-legislators as our founders intended, for us to serve for finite periods of time.”
He added, “Is it to say that someone can’t serve a long time and do a good job? Of course not. But I think there’s something to be said for fresh turnover of ideas, of energy, of commitment. A sense of urgency that comes by not being worrying about just getting re-elected, but being worried about getting things done. I think it’s healthy, I think it’s good for America when we see that.”
A strong belief in the importance of term limits, however, has not stopped Bevin from endorsing long-serving incumbents like McConnell, who is running for re-election in 2020.
Asked in February if he would support McConnell — who was first elected in 1984 — for re-election, Bevin responded, “Oh yes! The only time I did not vote for him is when I ran against him in a primary.”
Bevin praised the Senate majority leader as “pragmatic and masterful and calculated.”
Bevin’s caveat last week — that it’s not impossible for someone to serve several terms and do a good job — suggest he may be as sincerely committed to McConnell as he has previously indicated. But with an approval rating lower than any other governor in the nation in a recent poll, Bevin also needs all the help he can get.
Bevin is seeking a second term as governor in this November’s elections. In March, McConnell lent his support to Bevin as well. “I’m not great at math, but I know that ’19 comes before ’20… and job one in 2019 is to re-elect Governor Matt Bevin to a second term,” he said at the time.