Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — McConnell searches for debt deal votes GOP working to lock down votes on McConnell debt deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Debt limit maneuvers; Biden warns Putin MORE's (R-Ky.) reelection campaign has reportedly sold more than 2,000 "Cocaine Mitch" T-shirts, raking in more than $70,000 in campaign contributions.
Roughly four out of five of the purchasers of the $35 T-shirts are first-time donors to the Kentucky Republican's campaign, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.
“One of the things we learned with this whole 'Cocaine Mitch' phenomenon is that people are really engaged,” Josh Holmes, a consultant for McConnell's reelection campaign, told the watchdog organization. “They want content. They want merchandise.”
He added that the tactic is “not something we would have done in 2014” and called it a “new and unique way to capitalize on what is now a very … vibrant online democracy that is interested in participating if you give them a reason to.”
The Hill has reached out to McConnell's campaign for comment.
The campaign began selling the garments, which depict a silhouette of McConnell surrounded by specks that appear to represent cocaine, earlier this month.
They represent McConnell's decision to embrace a nickname given to him by failed Republican West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship.
Blankenship said in a campaign ad last year that “one of my goals as U.S. senator will be to ditch Cocaine Mitch.”
He later said in a news release that he was referencing McConnell's father-in-law, "who founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company [and] has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years,” and said the shipping company had been implicated in alleged cocaine smuggling.
After Blankenship lost in the 2018 primary, McConnell's campaign tweeted an image of the senator that contained an apparent reference to the TV series "Narcos."
A year ago, a legend was born. Own your piece of history. #CocaineMitch— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 8, 2019