Who is Mitch McConnell's wife Elaine Chao? How love sparked at candlelight dinner and led to 27-year marriage

The two got married on February 6, 1993, and the date was picked by McConnell for three reasons

                            Who is Mitch McConnell's wife Elaine Chao? How love sparked at candlelight dinner and led to 27-year marriage
Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao (Getty Images)

Kentucky's senior United States senator and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is not only the longest-serving US senator for Kentucky but also the longest-serving leader of US Senate Republicans in history since he was first elected to Congress in 1984.


but also the longest-serving Republican leader in history since he was first elected to Congress in 1984.

The 78-year-old won against Amy McGrath — Democrat candidate for the Senate from Kentucky and a well-financed military veteran — and was elected to a seventh term. “I give Kentucky the opportunity to punch above its weight and bring home big wins we would not otherwise get if we had a rookie senator,” McConnell said in a statement in the closing days of his campaign, noting that he had “steered” more than $17 billion to Kentucky projects since his last election.

Despite raising more than $80 million, McGrath lost. A report by The New York Times read: “Some Democrats said they believed that Charles Booker, an African-American state legislator from Louisville who lost the primary to McGrath, would have made a stronger challenger, but defeating the majority leader in a year with President Trump on the ballot was always going to be difficult.”

Over the years, trolls have dubbed McConnell as ‘Moscow Mitch’, ‘Cocaine Mitch’, ‘Grim Reaper’, ‘Darth Vader’, ‘Rich Mitch’ ‘Nuclear Mitch’ and ‘Midnight Mitch’ — and as per reports, he has severely objected to the nickname ‘Moscow Mitch’. As he clinches the winning crown again, here's a look at his personal life and relationships. 

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Who was Mitch McConnell's first wife?

McConnell married his first wife, Sherrill Redmon, in 1968. Together till the year 1980, the pair gave birth to three children, Elly McConnell, Porter McConnell and Claire McConnell. She attended the University of Louisville, Kentucky and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She then received a PhD in 1974.

Post their split, Redmon became a feminist scholar at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and became the director of the Sophia Smith Collection of the Women's History Archives, in 1993. She tirelessly worked at Smith College to make it more racially and culturally diverse. Interestingly, she also worked with well-known journalist and feminist, Gloria Steinem, on an oral history project called 'Voices of Feminism'. 

Elaine Chao (Getty Images)

Who is Elaine Chao?

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Elaine Chao is the eldest of six daughters of Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, a historian, and James SC Chao, a merchant mariner. She immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old. A chance meeting sparked love as Chao was introduced to McConnell by Stuart Bloch and his wife Julia Chang Bloch at a candlelight dinner. While Bloch is a close friend of McConnell, his wife is the ambassador to Nepal and the first Asian American to serve as the US Ambassador, who mentored Chao. “I don't want to say that sparks flew,” Bloch told The New York Times, adding, “because that's not the way either of them is.”

The two got married on February 6, 1993 — McConnell picked that date for three reasons: It's Ronald Reagan's birthday, it was just before Chao's 40th birthday, and it was right before a one-week Senate recess. Bloch later dubbed Chao as a “tiger wife,” a reference to Amy Chua's 2011 book about her disciplinarian parenting style. In a 2017 interview with CNN, Chao said she sometimes regrets not having children.

As per reports, McConnell famously said, “people remark that I'm in a mixed marriage. I don't see it that way. In my first marriage, I married a liberal. Now that was a mixed marriage. With Elaine, she and I understand one another.” Chao served as secretary of the Department of Labor under President George W Bush and deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation under President George HW Bush. Currently, she serves as the secretary of the Department of Transportation under Trump.

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