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McConnell Shocks GOP With Half-Hearted Endorsement of Party’s Chances in Midterms

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not win over many of his Republican opponents with remarks he made last week.

The Kentucky GOP leader, during a speech at a business luncheon in Georgetown on Monday, only gave his party a 50-50 chance of retaking the Senate even in a political environment that, according to months’ worth of polling, puts Democrats at a significant disadvantage after being saddled with President Joe Biden’s abysmal approval ratings.

He also said that a GOP-controlled House and/or Senate would find ways to work with Biden.


“Flipping the Senate, what are the chances? It’s a 50-50 proposition. We’ve got a 50-50 Senate right now. We’ve got a 50-50 nation. And I think the outcome is likely to be very, very close either way,” McConnell told the Scott County Chamber of Commerce.

“If both the House and the Senate flip, I think the president will be a moderate. He won’t have any choice. And so, we’ll try to find ways to make some progress for the country during the last two years of his term … but not big dramatic change,” he added.

He also downplayed any concerns about election fraud stemming from the 2020 election.

“Election fraud, there is some,” McConnell said. “It happens occasionally. But our democracy is solid. And of the things we need to worry about, I wouldn’t be worried about that one.”

Reuters noted that most Republican voters agree with former President Donald Trump’s claims that widespread fraud occurred, though all of his legal challenges to electoral results in several states failed following the election.

As for McConnell, it was the second time in less than a week that he downplayed his party’s chances of success in the upper chamber during the upcoming midterms by appearing to disparage the “quality” of some GOP candidates — a swipe many took to mean those supported by Trump.

“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,” McConnell said on Thursday when asked about Republican chances of taking back control of the upper chamber.

“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,” he added at an event in his home state, per The Hill.

Those remarks led to widespread criticism within conservative ranks.

“What was McConnell thinking? What in the world was he thinking?” The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway wrote in a column titled, “Come On, Mitch McConnell, Republicans Need You To Step Up And Lead.”

Hemingway then went on to list several examples as to why Republicans look to be in good shape to retake the Senate despite McConnell’s less-than-enthusiastic remarks.


“Of the 14 Senate seats that are in contention, two are considered safe for Democrats, one leans Democrat, two are considered safe for Republicans, one leans Republican, and the remaining eight are toss-ups, according to polling averages,” she wrote.

She added that 18 months into total Democrat control of the legislative and executive branches, “by nearly every measure the results of their political control are utterly disastrous.”

“Consumer confidence has cratered. War with nuclear powers is dangerously close in at least two parts of the world. The economy should be roaring out of the pandemic, but it’s returned to Obama-era sluggishness or worse. Woke mobs are completing their destruction of the country’s institutions. Democrats are persecuting political opponents with their deeply unpopular J6 star chamber,” she wrote.

Hemingway also quoted a response to McConnell’s comments from one “political bigwig” whom she did not name.

“He’s a child having a temper tantrum. It is completely insane for him to criticize our candidates. He can’t step up and lead, clearly, but we need him to shut up.”

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