The primary support of former president Donald Trump “proved to be quite consequential,” according to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and ultimately costly for Republicans’ unsuccessful attempt to reclaim the Senate.
McConnell noted comments he made over the summer in which he expressed worry about the “candidate quality” of those candidates Trump backed.
In August, McConnell said to NBC News, “I think there’s probably a larger probability the House switches than the Senate.” “Senate races are just distinct. Statewide, they exist. The outcome greatly depends on the quality of the candidates.
The comment was perceived as a thinly veiled jab at Trump, whose chosen candidates for the Senate lost crucial contests in elections the GOP hoped to win. Democrats gained a seat in the Senate in addition to controlling it. Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Blake Masters in Arizona, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, and Herschel Walker in Georgia were among Trump’s notable misses.
At a press conference on Tuesday at the Capitol, McConnell stated, “Looking back at ’22, some of you may recall, I never said there was a red wave.” “I didn’t make it up when I stated we had a lot of close races; looking at each race independently. There were many close races. We ultimately had some quality time with the prospect. Does anyone recall who brought up that in August? Consider Arizona, New Hampshire, as well as a difficult circumstance in Georgia.
McConnell emphasized the significance of fielding “excellent candidates.”
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McConnell said, “We had an opportunity to re-learn – one more time – that you have to have quality candidates to win challenging Senate contests,” before listing off Republican Senate nominees from previous election cycles who failed to make it. Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock all went through this in 2010, 2012, and we regrettably went through it again in 2022.
Then McConnell cited Trump’s endorsements as the cause.
Because of the backing from the previous president, he continued, “Our capacity to affect the primary outcome was fairly restricted in ’22. In these primaries, “proved to be quite decisive.”