"Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule MORE's quiet, principled leadership is key to everything we accomplish on Capitol Hill," Rubio said during the event, according to CNN.
"The way he fought ObamaCare, tooth and nail, and forced the Democrats to use extraordinary measures to pass it was a critical catalyst in electing my entire class of Senate conservatives in 2010. Without Mitch, I don't know that we'd have Senator Rubio, Senator Johnson, Senator Paul or Senator Lee."
Sens. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race DHS head: 750 immigrants granted accidental citizenship Johnson links Dem opponent to Clinton email scandal MORE (R-Okla.), Rand PaulRand PaulLawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears GOP senators hit FBI on early probe of NY bombing suspect MORE (R-Ky.) and Mike LeeMike LeeFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Shutdown risk grows over Flint Conservative group presses GOP to vote against spending bill MORE (R-Utah) all have Tea Party support, and affiliating himself with all three will likely help McConnell appeal to those skeptical voters on the right.
McConnell is likely to face a strong challenge from Democrats as well, who believe he is one of the nation's most vulnerable incumbents in 2014. Two Democratic contenders, actress Ashley Judd and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, have emerged as possible challengers.