MAYFIELD, Ky. – U.S. Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell obtained a rousing welcome from the get together trustworthy Saturday at a high-profile home-state political gathering amid renewed scrutiny of his well being after the 81-year-old lawmaker froze up midsentence throughout a latest Capitol Hill information convention.

“This is my 28th Fancy Farm, and I want to assure you it’s not my last,” McConnell mentioned on the high of his breakfast speech earlier than the annual picnic that’s the conventional leaping off level for the autumn marketing campaign season. It was his solely reference, nevertheless imprecise, to his well being.

McConnell, who’s broadly thought to be the primary architect of the GOP’s rise to energy in Kentucky, arrived to a chronic standing ovation and promoted the candidacy of a protege operating for governor this 12 months.

McConnell has been a fixture on the stage at Fancy Farm, the place he lengthy has relished jousting with Democrats. His well being has drawn elevated consideration since he briefly left his personal information convention in Washington on July 26 after stopping his remarks midsentence and staring off into area for a number of seconds. GOP colleagues standing behind him grabbed his elbows and escorted him again to his workplace. When he returned to reply questions, McConnell mentioned he was “fine.” Requested if he’s nonetheless in a position to do his job, he mentioned, “Yeah.”

McConnell was out of the Senate for nearly six weeks earlier this 12 months after falling and hitting his head after a dinner occasion at a Washington resort. He was hospitalized for a number of days, and his workplace later mentioned he suffered a concussion and fractured a rib. His speech has sounded extra halting in latest weeks, prompting questions amongst a few of his colleagues about his well being.

He has mentioned he plans to serve his full time period as Republican chief — he was elected to a two-year time period in January and could be up for reelection to that publish once more after the 2024 elections. McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and has been the Republican chief since 2007. He would face reelection to the Senate in 2026.

On the breakfast occasion Saturday, McConnell didn’t delve into nationwide points or touch upon former President Donald Trump’s authorized entanglements, and he didn’t meet with reporters afterward. In his nine-minute speech. McConnell accused Democrats of getting “turned their backs on rural America.”

McConnell additionally praised Daniel Cameron, the state’s lawyer common who’s difficult Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in one of many nation’s most intently watched elections this 12 months. McConnell mentioned he first met Cameron when Cameron was a pupil on the College of Louisville. Cameron went on to serve on McConnell’s workers as authorized counsel.

“I’ve watched him over the years,” McConnell said. “And now you have. And you’ve seen his leadership skills, his ability to rally people together.”

A rift between Trump and McConnell has reverberated in Kentucky, the place each males are in style with Republican voters. The break up grew after the senator publicly refuted Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, ending an uneasy partnership that had helped conservatives set up a agency majority on the Supreme Courtroom.

McConnell has been principally silent since then and has been loath to touch upon any of the three indictments of Trump this 12 months. The 2 have discovered widespread trigger once more within the candidacy of Cameron, who was the beneficiary of Trump’s endorsement through the hard-fought Republican major for governor.

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