Senate Republicans re-elect Mitch McConnell to be majority leader

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have re-elected Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell to be majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January and starts working on Donald Trump’s agenda.

President-elect Donald Trump, left, walks from a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, at the U.S. Capitol Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump, left, walks from a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, at the U.S. Capitol Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

McConnell is widely popular among Republicans and his election was by acclimation on Wednesday. The 74-year-old is considered a clever tactician who mixes conservative leanings with a willingness to cut bipartisan deals when necessary.

McConnell was Senate minority leader for eight years before becoming majority leader when the GOP took control in 2015.

He enraged Democrats by refusing to let the Senate consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy last February. That paid dividends when Trump was elected president.

McConnell distanced himself from Trump during the campaign, but says he’s ready to work with him.

Also on Wednesday, Senate Democrats unanimously elected Chuck Schumer to be their new minority leader when Congress convenes in January.