- Mitch McConnell said there is a “50-50” chance Republicans will win control of the Senate this fall.
- “I think the outcome is probably going to be very, very close either way,” he said at a Kentucky luncheon.
- McConnell recently said the “quality of the candidates” was a key factor in Senate races, which angered Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said Republicans have a “50-50” chance of regaining the upper house majority in midterm elections in November, while predicting that regardless of the outcome, the body will remain deeply divided.
The Kentucky Republican made the remarks at a business lunch outside Lexington, where he also said Republicans would work with President Joe Biden if the party wins control of the Senate and House this fall.
“With the Senate flipping, what are the odds? The proposal is 50-50,” McConnell said at the luncheon. “We have a 50-50 Senate right now. We have a 50-50 nation. And I think the result is probably going to be very, very close either way.”
“If both the House and the Senate flip, I think the president will moderate. He will have no choice,” he added. “So we’re going to try to find ways to make some progress for the country in the last two years of his tenure … but not a big dramatic change.”
McConnell’s comments come after he drew condemnation from former President Donald Trump last week for his remarks that “the quality of the candidates” was a critical factor in Senate races; the GOP leader last week appeared to downplay his party’s chances of flipping the upper house.
“I think the House is probably more likely to reverse than the Senate,” McConnell said last week at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “Senate races are different — they’re statewide, the quality of the candidates has a lot to do with the outcome.”
Trump responded by calling McConnell a “broken hack politician” and attacking the GOP leader’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, as “crazy.”
Relations between Trump and McConnell have been strained since the GOP leader slammed the former president for his behavior on January 6, 2021, when rioters stormed the United States Capitol and tried to stop the certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory. .
While Trump continued to challenge the election results, citing voter fraud, McConnell on Monday was reluctant to address the issue.
“There are electoral frauds. Sometimes they happen. But our democracy is solid. And of the things we have to worry about, I wouldn’t worry about that,” the GOP Senate leader said.
Republicans are poised to make big gains in Congress this year, buoyed by Biden’s middling approval rating and voter anxiety about inflation, but Democrats have scored some major legislative successes in recent months with the chip financing bill — which has received significant support from both parties — and the president signs the party’s tax, health care and climate bill into law.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has become a central issue in many Senate races, with Democrats seeking to argue that the decision is overreach as they seek to increase their support among women — a key constituency for the party — and politically independent.
Democrats currently hold 50-50 control of the Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ deciding vote, and the party hopes it can pick up seats in key states including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin while protecting incumbents in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire.