(WASHINGTON EXAMINER) From Tea Party agitator to leadership insider, Sen. Mike Lee is now counselor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Utah Republican is steering committee chairman, a post that often comes with a seat in leadership. But McConnell wasn’t obligated to bring Lee into the fold last week, when he appointed him as one of four counsellors to the Republican leadership. The Kentuckian never extended a similar offer to Jim DeMint when he led steering. Lee and McConnell hardly have a chummy history, although the majority leader shrewdly keeps potential enemies close.
Lee advanced to the Senate in 2010 by ousting then-Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah’s GOP primary. Bennett was a McConnell confidant who at the time was serving in leadership as an appointed advisor to the leader — the same advisory post that Lee now holds. The Tea Party favorite later defied McConnell when he joined forces with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and conservative groups in a bid to leverage a partial government shutdown to derail Obamacare.
Advertisement - story continues below