Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell downplayed the odds of the Republicans winning back control of the Senate in November over “candidate quality,” The Washington Post reports.
McConnell has frequently backed primary candidates opposed by Trump but the former president’s support has helped many of his endorsees win the GOP nomination. As a result, McConnell is concerned about the party’s “candidate quality” headed into the midterms.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said. “Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” he added.
Republicans had a decent Senate map to target but ultimately voters backed Trump’s controversial picks in key states.
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters are both trailing by double-digits.
Ohio candidate JD Vance and Georgia candidate Herschel Walker both trail in most polls.
McConnell’s PAC on Thursday made a $28 million ad buy in Ohio in hopes of boosting Vance’s chances. But the GOP is pulling back in many of the other races.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee headed by Florida Sen. Rick Scott cut $13.5 million worth of ads in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin and Nevada.
“People are asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’” one Republican strategist told Politico. “Why are we cutting in August? I’ve never seen it like this before.”