The Senate’s top Republican is out with a sober assessment of his party’s chances for taking the chamber in November’s midterm elections, and he says “candidate quality” is a big factor.
Speaking in Kentucky on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, [and] candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.” His comments were reported by NBC News and other outlets.
McConnell continued: “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 did not name any names when discussing the quality of GOP candidates.
Evercore ISI analyst Tobin Marcus said in a note on Friday that Democrats are now favored to win the Senate but still are in line to lose the House. He noted that in the four Senate contests that are most likely to be decisive — Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada — “most of the Republican candidates are inexperienced and there have been persistently worrisome signs about their campaigns.”
In Pennsylvania’s Senate race, the Cook Political Report on Thursday moved its rating to “lean Democrat” from “toss-up,” as Republican Mehmet Oz struggles against Lt. Gov John Fetterman.
Read: Video of Dr. Oz complaining about grocery prices goes viral: ‘That’s $20 for crudités!’
Also: If Republicans win in midterm elections, watch for action on gas-tax holiday, child tax credit and crime, expert says
Ohio’s Senate contest presents another potential pitfall for Republicans: Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan led Donald Trump-endorsed venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance in five consecutive polls until an Emerson College survey this week put Vance ahead, notes FiveThirtyEight. Ryan still holds a narrow lead in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
If Republicans take control of one or both chambers of Congress in the fall elections, analysts expect aggressive oversight of Biden administration regulators such as at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as room for some compromise on issues like the child tax credit.