McConnell Dems may hold onto Senate , bad GOP candidates

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20 Aug 2022, 1:18 am

NBC News McConnell says Republicans may not win Senate control, citing 'candidate quality'

enate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday downplayed expectations of Republicans capturing control of the Senate in the fall elections, describing “candidate quality” as an important factor.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” he said in Florence, Kentucky, at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon when asked about his projection for the 2022 election.

“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.”

Even though history strongly favors the party out of power — in this case the GOP — to make gains in midterm races, McConnell has long worried that subpar candidates could play into Democrats' hands.

While he didn't mention any names, there are examples across the country.

In Pennsylvania's open Senate race, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its rating Thursday from "toss up" to "lean Democrat" as GOP nominee Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor, struggles against Democrat John Fetterman, the state's lieutenant governor, who leads in recent polls.

Apart from Oz, Republicans have nominated numerous first-time candidates backed by former President Donald Trump in states such as Georgia, Arizona and Ohio to run against seasoned Democratic politicians. The Senate Leadership Fund, a group aligned with McConnell, recently bought $28 million worth of airtime in Ohio to support Republican nominee J.D. Vance.

The Republican Party establishment also failed to recruit preferred candidates in other states, like New Hampshire.

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20 Aug 2022, 4:07 pm

This is classic expectation management from McConnell. I wouldn't put too much weight on it.

Interesting how many celebrities the Republicans have nominated. A TV personality in PA, a sportsperson in GA, an author in OH and another in AZ. There are also a few people who run construction companies. Some candidates with more traditional backgrounds in places like Nevada and New Hampshire.

Contrastingly in their key races, the Democrats are putting up Lieutenant Governors, Representatives, a Supreme Justice of the state Supreme Court, and a retired vice admiral. It's a very different strategy. The question is which party has its finger on the pulse of the local swing voters.

The race I'm most interested in is Evan McMullin in Utah. Probably entirely inconsequential but would add another true moderate to a Senate desperately lacking in them.


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20 Aug 2022, 8:31 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
This is classic expectation management from McConnell. I wouldn't put too much weight on it.

This guy gets it.

Mitch isn't wrong about the candidate quality thing though, some of them are real head scratchers.

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