Mitch McConnell gets photobombed at voting booth. Can we call it thumbgate?

As the Senate minority leader voted this morning, he got a thumbs down from a Kentucky voter a couple of booths down.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
This Kentucky voter was not quite so opportunistic about sharing the limelight with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky got photobombed when he voted this morning.

It happened like this: the current Senate minority leader walked into his polling place at Bellarmine University in Louisville, which is not a conservative redoubt (Bellarmine has a good lacrosse team though, FWIW.) Security aides closed ranks to prevent photographers from getting too close, attracting the attention of fellow voters.

One guy a couple of booths down stuck his head up and sensed an opportunity. As the photogs snapped away he gave a thumbs-down sign, which shows up pretty well in the background of a couple of lucky shots. As many analysts noted, it seems pretty clear this guy’s vote canceled out Senator McConnell’s.

The campaign of McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, quickly turned the viral photo into a campaign tweet, with an arrow pointing to the photobomber and a caption saying, “Stand with this guy.”

They took it down later in the day, perhaps due to complaints from the Louisville Courier Journal that they’d appropriated the paper’s photo of the incident without permission. But you can still see it on the Politwoops site of deleted politicians' tweets.

What larger messages can we attempt to draw from this via over-interpretation as we await real voting results? 

First, advance work is an important and thankless job. Which hapless aide let that situation develop anyway?

Second, photobomb guy is likely to go to bed disappointed. The data journalism site 538 says McConnell has a 98 percent chance of winning reelection, and a 76 percent chance of being majority leader when the next Congress convenes.

Which brings us to our last point: McConnell is unlikely to care about this in the slightest tomorrow morning. He’ll be too busy thinking about how he’s going to decorate his big new office and how he’s going to run the Senate for the next two years, at least.

Or in the much less-probable circumstance of Democrats keeping the Senate, he’ll have much bigger problems on his hands.

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