When asked by CNN Monday whether he was confident that the GOP could take back the upper chamber after four years out of power, McConnell answered bluntly: “No, no — I’m not.”
McConnell, 81, added that he and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines (R-Mont.) are eyeing victories in Montana, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
That would give Republicans 53 seats on Jan. 3, 2025 if all other races are won by the current holding party.
McConnell’s comments came after disappointing results last year in Arizona, New Hampshire and Georgia, where Trump-backed candidates Blake Masters, Don Bolduc, and Herschel Walker lost races most pundits believed to favor the Republican side.
“We do have the possibility of screwing this up and that gets back to candidate recruitment,” McConnell said. “I think that we lost Georgia, Arizona and New Hampshire because we didn’t have competitive candidates. And Steve Daines and I are in exactly the same place — that starts with candidate quality.”
West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice recently announced he would challenge Democrat Joe Manchin for his Senate seat, but big-name Republican candidates have yet to emerge against incumbent Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (R-Ohio).
McConnell referred to hedge fund executive David McCormick as a “high-quality candidate” to take on Casey, despite McCormick losing the Keystone State’s 2022 GOP Senate primary to celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) may also face tight races in 2024, though McConnell declined to speculate further.
He also threw cold water on the likelihood that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) would entertain a run on the GOP ticket, saying: “I think that decision was made when she ended up continuing to caucus with the Democrats.”
“We would love to have had her, but we didn’t land her,” the Kentucky Republican added.
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