WASHINGTON — When Mitch McConnell returned to his home state of Kentucky, he couldn’t escape the debate over criminal justice reform.
Ads in favor of the Senate bill were running on television. Religious leaders, business executives and local politicians were talking about it. Even McConnell’s beloved University of Louisville proved no sanctuary: It held a forum in support of the legislation.
Much of the noise in Kentucky was no accident. It was encouraged and amplified by advocates who embarked on a single-minded campaign to sway the senate majority leader, recognizing his support as crucial to unlocking a historic overhaul of federal sentencing laws — a bill now on the precipice of becoming law.