Citing the quality of the candidates, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell projected that Republicans were more likely to flip the House than the Senate, further dampening expectations for the upper chamber with fewer than three months until the midterm elections.
“I think it’s going to be very tight. We have a 50-50 nation. We’re likely to have a very close Senate still, with us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly,” McConnell said on Fox’s “Special Report”. McConnell may be experiencing déjà vu from 2010, when the Republican party failed to take control of the chamber, largely because of the weak candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and Todd Akin in Missouri. But even with their difficulties with candidates, Republicans may still be able to grow their ranks this year. In fact, a gain of just one seat would give Republicans control of the Senate from the Democrats and give them the ability to veto President Biden’s legislative agenda and nominees for top administration positions.
As a result of President Biden’s poor approval rating, McConnell had previously said that Republicans would fare well in the November midterm elections. But, he has long been concerned that below-average candidates would be good for the Democrats. According to McConnell, “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.” The remarks by McConnell happen less than three months ahead of the midterm elections, which are viewed by Republicans as their chance to seize control of the House and Senate, reported NBC News.
In the open Senate race in Pennsylvania, GOP candidate Mehmet Oz, a celebrity physician, is having trouble getting ahead of Democrat John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, who has been leading in the polls lately. Thus, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report switched Pennsylvania’s rating from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat”. In addition to Oz, several first-time candidates backed by former President Donald Trump have been endorsed by Republicans in states such as Arizona, Georgia, and Ohio to compete against veteran Democratic politicians. In Ohio, the Senate Leadership Fund, a group affiliated with McConnell, just recently purchased $28 million worth of airtime to boost Republican candidate J.D. Vance.
“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 declared in Florence, Kentucky, during a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon, upon being questioned about his projections for the 2022 elections. Following the nomination of several Trump-backed Senate candidates who think that the last election was stolen, the Republican party’s perspective shifted and the Senate leader has since reversed course, softening expectations as the outlook worsens for Republicans.
According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com, Democrats are slated to win the Senate by a wide margin, 64% to 36%, while Republicans have an advantage over Democrats regarding the House, 77% to 23%.