Mitch McConnell has led the Republican Conference in the United States Senate for nearly a decade and a half. He's also the longest-serving U.S. senator from Kentucky in history.

Over the years, McConnell has acquired loyal followers and staunch adversaries. He's been widely unpopular among both the Republican Party, of which he's a member and the Democratic Party alike. Repeated attempts to topple him in Kentucky have been unsuccessful. But according to outlets such as The Intercept and The Daily Mail, he could soon be out anyway.

Apparently plotting a so-called 'exit strategy'

The vice grip Mitch McConnell once had on his conference could be in a tenuous state. Perhaps largely as a result of alienating most if not every wing of the Republican Party. He's angered the Trump wing of the party with his criticism of the former president. And angered pretty much any other wing by his tendency of almost immediately jumping back in line with him. McConnell's also been recently embroiled in other scandals surrounding his family's wealth.

Likely at least in part, for these reasons, McConnell seems to be preparing to leave the Senate behind. Reportedly even compiling a list of preferred possible successors to follow him. Current Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron tops it.

Sitting Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams is also on it. So is Kelly Craft, former U.S. ambassador to China and the United Nations.

There's at least one problem with that idea. If a U.S. senator doesn't finish their term by Kentucky law, the governor appoints a new one. Who they choose is largely at their own discretion.

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Kentucky's current governor is moderate Democrat Andy Beshear. McConnell previously defeated his father, future also-Governor, Steve Beshear, in one of his Senate races.

It's unlikely that a Democrat, even a moderate one, would pick somebody McConnell would approve of. Let alone someone from his purported list of preferred candidates.

This might be why McConnell has thrown his support behind a bill in the Kentucky General Assembly. The governor would still ultimately appoint a successor, but with much stricter rules. A committee from the party of vacating senator would give the governor a list of three names. The governor, in theory, could only choose from that list.

Officials in Kentucky claim the bill had been in the works for quite some time. Long enough to predate McConnell's potential early retirement. But the timing could on its face look suspicious. Especially since the list of successors in the bill seems to match the amount on McConnell's personal list.

McConnell is a former Senate majority leader

Currently, Mitch McConnell sits as a minority leader after Republicans recently lost control of the United States Senate.

It's his second go-round as minority leader, serving as the majority leader in-between.

He took over the Republican side of the Senate in 2007 after his predecessor, Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, retired. Frist exited as the majority leader, McConnell entered as the minority leader. The reason being Republicans losing the Senate after the 2006 elections. Before becoming the leader, McConnell was the Senate majority whip. On two occasions, he's been chosen to chair the Senate Rules Committee.

In his youth, the now long-time senator emerged from a battle with polio. When he got older, McConnell was a civil rights activist. He was present at the rally where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech.

Shortly after, he interned for U.S. Senator John Sherman Cooper.

McConnell later joined the United States Army. His service was brief, however, after being diagnosed with optic neuritis. He was deemed medically unable to serve and was honorably discharged. Afterward, he joined the staff of U.S. Senator Marlow Cook.

In 1971, McConnell worked on the gubernatorial campaign for Republican nominee Tom Emberton. Emberton lost to Democratic Lieutenant Governor Wendell Ford. Ford was later elected to the Senate, where he also became a majority whip and minority whip.

After working on the University of Louisville faculty, McConnell became a U.S. assistant attorney general under President Gerald Ford.

Later, he was elected to two terms as the top official in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He was first elected to the United States Senate in 1984. Narrowly defeating Democratic incumbent Walter Dee Huddleston in an upset. He's been re-elected six times since then.