Asked Wednesday by reporters in Kentucky about his mid-term predictions, McConnell said there is “probably a greater chance of the House tipping than the Senate.”
“Senate races are just different. They’re statewide. The quality of candidates has a lot to do with the outcome,” he said, according to NBC News.
In a year when Republicans should have the edge over Democrats, especially as President Biden’s approval ratings plummet and inflation remains high, the GOP faces surprisingly tight Senate races in several states — even with Republican groups providing huge sums of money. to help struggling candidates.
On Wednesday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee affiliated with McConnell, is investing $28 million in Ohio radio and television ads in support of Republican Senate candidate JD Vance, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
The new pro-Vance ads will roll out after Labor Day, according to the paper, which noted that the ad purchase represents a significant increase from the estimated $5 million National Republicans have invested in the Ohio race so far. In 2020, Trump won Ohio by about eight percentage points.
Still, polls have shown a remarkably close race between Vance, a venture capitalist and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” and his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, as they compete for the resigning seat of Senator Rob Portman (R). Vance’s primary race was funded in part by billionaire Peter Thiel, who previously employed Vance at his venture capital firm. But Vance was beaten 4-1 by Ryan in the second quarter of 2022.
Ryan, a ten-term congressman who became president in 2020, is a veteran campaigner and moderate Democrat who is willing to break with party leadership in a number of policy areas, most notably trade and China.
Commenting on the GOP release, Ryan tweeted: “If they are so focused on our race, it means we must be doing something right. Here’s my message to Mitch McConnell, JD Vance and the rest of the GOP: Bring it on.”
Mitch McConnell’s super PAC just announced they are dumping $28 MILLION in Ohio to tear down our campaign. If they are so focused on our race, it means we must be doing something right.
Here’s my message to Mitch McConnell, JD Vance and the rest of the GOP: Bring it on.
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) August 18, 2022
Ryan also sent out a fundraising appeal, citing the GOP investment and campaign of Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, Friday with Vance, writing: “National Republicans PANIC after *several* polls showed these race is deadlocked – and we expect DeSantis to attack me personally. This is the beginning of Mitch McConnell’s new strategy to abort my campaign.”
Republicans must win one seat to gain a majority in a 50-50 Senate in which Vice President Harris has the casting vote. The significant investment in a GOP-leaning state for a Republican seat is surprising to the party 82 days to Election Day. And while the GOP still prefers to keep the Ohio seat in November, the close race forces the party to spend defensively, funds that could otherwise be invested in contesting Senate seats taken by Democrats. such as Nevada and Colorado.
So far, the Senate leadership fund has also spent large amounts of money on the senate races in Georgia and Pennsylvania, at $37 million and $34.1 million, respectively. But those races are considered more competitive for Republicans.
In Georgia, Republicans are trying to topple Senator Raphael G. Warnock (D), whose January 2021 victory helped Democrats gain their narrow Senate majority. GOP candidate Herschel Walker — who has come under scrutiny for past falsehoods and the revelation of several children not previously made public — is following Warnock in the polls.
In the Senate race to replace outgoing Pennsylvania Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R), recent polls show Lt. gov. John Fetterman (D) has a two-figure lead over Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, a famous television doctor. Oz’s campaign has spent much of the past week fending off attacks over the number of homes he owns and resisting online ridicule over a recently surfaced video of Oz messing up the name of a local supermarket chain while purportingly buy ingredients for ‘crudités’.
The McConnell-bound group’s spending comes as the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) shifts its TV ad spending to several states on the battlefield, canceling millions of dollars in ad reservations with plans to rebook the investments. through coordinated spending with campaigns.
A media-buy-tracking Democrat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide the data, said the NRSC cut its TV ad reservations this month by more than $7 million in Pennsylvania, nearly $3 million in Arizona and over $2 million in both Wisconsin and Nevada. Another media-buying Democrat confirmed similar numbers. The ad reservation changes were first reported by the New York Times earlier this week.
The shift comes as GOP senate candidates in some of those states are lagging behind their Democratic opponents in raising funds, potentially hindering their ability to keep up with the airwaves and promote their own candidatures. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) raised about $7 million in the second quarter of the year for Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes’ roughly $2 million, before Barnes’ main rivals pulled out.
This week, Barnes was slightly ahead of Johnson, a Marquette Law School poll showed.
Barnes has a 51 to 44 percent lead over Johnson in the poll, bigger than Barnes’s margin of two points in June. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
Democrats see the Wisconsin race as one of their biggest chances to win a seat in the Senate.
Hannah Knowles contributed to this report.