Perhaps one of the most anti-Trump Republicans in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) revealed he’s not sure his party can regain the Senate majority despite a “good map.”
When asked whether he is confident about achieving a GOP Senator majority, McConnell replied, “No, no — I’m not,” in a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Manu Raju.
Instead, the Kentucky Republican argued he could spend “10 minutes explaining” how the GOP “could screw this up,” but was “working very hard” to ensure that isn’t the case.
Despite his fears, McConnell’s party is only defending 11 seats in 2024, compared to Democrats defending 23 next year.
According to Raju, only two GOP incumbents are considered vulnerable to a Democratic swing, even though they are in GOP-friendly states. Three Democratic seats in red states are vulnerable.
McConnell shared his belief that there would be tight races in Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; but acknowledged that beating the incumbent Democrats would be difficult.
However, the Kentucky Republican was cautious about the GOP’s chances, expressing that it is “important” to understand that “it is hard to beat incumbents,” noting that last year no incumbent lost.
McConnell also admitted that the GOP had a “good map” in 2024 but hinted at possible infighting during the next term.
The Kentucky Republican insisted that there was a possibility of the GOP “screwing this up,” which he explained would be a result of poor “Candidate recruitment,” highlighting losses in Georgia, Arizona, and New Hampshire in 2022 because the party “didn’t have competitive candidates.”
Yet, McConnell’s critics believe losses in GOP-friendly have more to do with McConnell’s sabotage than Candidate quality, suggesting that the Senate GOP leader prefers being a leader, even to a minority than simply being a Senator. Therefore, they hypothesize that he wouldn’t support anyone who would not like him as party leader.
There could be some merit in these suggestions.
In one case, McConnell endorsed anti-Trump Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the deep red, ranked voting state against Trump-endorsed challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
Murkowski then upended the state GOP by endorsing Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, against Trump-backed Sarah Palin and another Republican.
Despite this reality, McConnell insisted he has no “ideological litmus test.”