Republicans are looking to hit the reset button on their Senate ambitions ahead of November’s midterms, following weeks of weakening polls and reports of the Democrats gaining momentum.
Following the GOP’s bruising Senate primaries and failures to gain traction in general election Matchup, Republican leaders in the upper chamber started expressing reservations about the party’s ability to win the majority of the Senate, citing “candidate quality.”
But in recent weeks, those in the upper chamber — particularly Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) — have adjusted their messaging, amending the outlook to be optimistic about picking up seats two months before the midterms.
McConnell made the most blatant change of tune when, on Monday (August 29), he held a fundraising event for three GOP Senate nominees.
Speaking to reporters in Kentucky, McConnell stated, “I pick out three of our candidates every summer that I think have the best shot at winning and invite them, and I picked these three because I thought they were in critical states and had a good chance of winning.”
His comments were made in response to a question about why he had held a fundraiser for Herschel Walker, running in Georgia, Rep. Ted Budd, pursuing a seat in the upper chamber representing North Carolina, and Mehmet Oz, who is vying for a seat in Pennsylvania.
The men, who have received Trump’s endorsement, are having trouble pulling ahead of their Democrat opponents. Oz and Walker are facing several controversies, with the outlook of the Pennsylvania Senate race being most notable.
Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections changed the outlook of the Pennsylvania Senate race from a “toss-up” to a “lean Democrat.”