McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton, left, with former boss Ron Paul in 2011. (Getty Images)

Jesse Benton, manager of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign, told a conservative activist in a phone call early this year that he was “holdin’ my nose” to run the race to benefit Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in a 2016  run.

“Between you and me, I’m sort of holdin’ my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in ’16, so that’s my long vision,” Benton says, according to a recording of the call obtained by the blog EconomicPolicyJournal.com.