Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seemingly doesn't possess great confidence in this year's crop of Republican challengers for Senate seats in battleground states.
On Thursday, McConnell acknowledged the "candidate quality" of GOP Senate contenders may be lacking, so much that Republicans could fall short of taking back the Senate in the November midterm elections.
"I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips [to Republicans] than the Senate," said McConnell, according to NBC News. "Senate races are just different. They're statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome."
There's a lot riding on this year's Senate general elections, given that the Democrats and Republicans currently hold 50 seats apiece.
According to Real Clear Politics, the Democrats are expected to carry Senate races in Connecticut (Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.), Washington (Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.) and Colorado (Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.).
Conversely, Republicans are slated to prevail in Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.), Alaska (Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska), Missouri (candidate Eric Schmitt) and Alabama (candidate Katie Britt).
For other Senate races, however, Real Clear Politics has the opposing parties essentially operating in "toss-up" situations.
The GOP Senate challengers in toss-up situations, by state, include: Arizona (candidate Blake Masters), Georgia (candidate Herschel Walker), New Hampshire (primary takes place Sept. 13), North Carolina (candidate Rep. Ted Budd), Nevada (candidate Adam Laxalt), Ohio (candidate J.D. Vance), Pennsylvania (candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz) and Wisconsin (Sen. Ron Johnson).
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed each "toss-up" hopeful in the above listing, and McConnell and Trump have a history of butting heads on political matters.
So, in that vein, McConnell's "candidate quality" line might be a veiled shot at Trump.
In April, McConnell acknowledged that even though the Democrats were in trouble (taking a cue from President Joe Biden's low approval ratings then), it was "actually possible" that Republicans could "screw this up" in November.
"In the Senate, if you look at where we have to compete in order to get into a majority, there are places that are competitive in the general election," McConnell said four months ago. "So, you can't nominate somebody who's just sort of unacceptable to a broader group of people and win. We had that experience in 2010 and 2012."
McConnell's comments don't necessarily account for the Trump influence with electoral races.
In the past year, Trump reportedly boasts a 176-6 record with Republican endorsements — a 96.7% success rate.
"We are just beginning to communicate about the deep flaws that [the Republican] roster of candidates brings to these races," David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said last week. "Their personal and political vulnerabilities are going to continue to be a centerpiece of these Senate campaigns in the months ahead."
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