Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expects a nail-biter midterm for GOP candidates, leading to an almost evenly divided Senate.
McConnell spoke Thursday during a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He said Republicans stand a better chance of flipping the House of Representatives in November. McConnell hopes his party edges out the Democrats but thinks candidate quality may hurt their chances.
No mention was made of prominent conservatives like Lin Wood depressing voter turnout in Georgia’s special election that saw Raphael Warnock narrowly elected as Georgia’s first Black senator. Warnock is facing off against former NFL star Herschel Walker in November for a chance to return to the Senate.
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“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” the minority leader anticipated. “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,” McConnell explained.
The Kentucky senator – who has led the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate since 2007 – has weathered midterm defeats in the past. The GOP failed to capture a Senate majority in 2010 and 2012 due to candidates like Todd Akin in Missouri and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware.
It remains to be seen how Senate elections will play out. While Republican J.D. Vance holds a 5-point lead over Democratic opponent Tim Ryan in Ohio according to a new Emerson College poll, the race remains tight.
The same survey says Ryan is ahead of Vance in favorability, receiving 54% over Vance’s 50%
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, analysts are predicting that lieutenant governor John Fetterman holds a stronger lead over Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. Cook Political Report says the Pennsylvania race has shifted from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic.”
The contest for control of the Senate, with 15 Republicans and 13 Democrats up for reelection, is considered so close that 88-year-old Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been persuaded to run for another six-year term.
A recent poll shows incumbent Sen. Warnock holds less than a two percent lead over Walker for the contested Georgia senate seat.
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