Skip to content

K Street Files: Former Top Mitch McConnell Aide Launches Lobby Shop

Lobbyist Hunter Bates, who briefly considered a run for the Congressional seat of retiring Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), is splitting with the C2 Group and relaunching his own firm, Bates Capitol Group.

The former top aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) will operate his business in Louisville, Ky., and Washington, D.C. From 1997 to 2002, Bates was on McConnell’s staff as chief legal counsel then as chief of staff.

Both Bates and C2 Group founding partner Tom Crawford called the split amicable.

“I’m looking forward to charting my own course and expect to grow and add more people in the future,” Bates said.

Senate Republicans are expected to make electoral gains in the November elections.

Bates’ longtime clients include Amgen, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, UPS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, Altria and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Crawford said he expects his firm to continue to work with Bates but noted that C2 is pursing other business opportunities.

Bates, who after he left McConnell’s staff ran for Kentucky lieutenant governor but withdrew after a judge ruled he did not meet the state’s residency requirement, is not ruling out a run for office in the future. However, in December he decided against going for the 4th district seat currently held by retiring Davis.

“I continue to be interested in public service,” Bates said. “But with three young children, I believe that season and opportunity is further down the road.”

Bates first formed Bates Capitol Group in 2003 after the lieutenant governor bid, and he affiliated with C2 in 2008.

In 2004, he served as statewide grass-roots chairman for Bush/Cheney in Kentucky and was a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention. He served as the chairman of the Board of Regents for Eastern Kentucky University, where he received his undergraduate degree. He received his law degree from Harvard.

Please send tips to