Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is changing his tune on how many Senate seats Republicans will flip in the midterm elections after a number of Trump-backed candidates beat out more traditionally conservative candidates.
President Biden’s poor approval ratings and the historical pattern of the president’s party losing seats in the middle of their first term in office were two reasons why McConnell earlier projected that Republicans would perform “extremely well” in the 2022 midterm elections.
But expectations of a Republican tidal wave in November have been dampened by the success of candidates endorsed by former President Trump, who continues to focus on his accusations of widespread election fraud in 2020, as well as the erratic performance of other Senate GOP candidates.
McConnell offered a sobering analysis in a midweek interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
“I think it’s going to be very tight. We have a 50-50 nation. And I think when this Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly,” McConnell said Wednesday evening.
He noted that Republican candidates like J.D. Vance, Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker are struggling in recent polls against their Democratic opponents. Trump endorsed all three and is largely responsible for boosting their primary wins.
This week in Arizona and Missouri, two more Trump-backed candidates secured wins. Blake Masters and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt both saw victories after campaigning on Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Democrats have controversially been funding and supporting Trump’s candidates in primaries, believing they’ll be more easily defeated in general elections and help the party cling to their current 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker.