Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.) says in a new interview that he expects to see Republicans lose seats in the House and Senate this year as the party pushes to retain its majorities in Congress ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The top Republican in the Senate told The New York Times for a story published Saturday that “the odds are” his party will face losses in both chambers of Congress this year.
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“The odds are that we will lose seats in the House and the Senate,” McConnell said.
“History tells you that, the fired-up nature of the political left tells you that. We go into this cleareyed that this is going to be quite a challenging election,” he added.
McConnell also acknowledged a fundraising deficit faced by some GOP Senate candidates in key states, a figure he attributed to those challenging incumbent Democratic senators.
“I concede the fund-raising problem,” McConnell said.
The average Democratic incumbent raised $2.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, with an average of $7.75 million cash on hand, while the average GOP challenger raised just $746,000 in the fourth quarter, and had an average of $1.05 million cash on hand.
McConnell was painting a rosier picture of the GOP’s chances in the midterms as recently as last month, when he told Fox News that Republicans have “a pretty good map” going into the fall.
“The Democrats had a good map last year. We’re optimistic we can keep the majority,” McConnell said at the end of January.
“If we hold Arizona and Nevada and pick up some of these others we’ll have a majority for two more years,” he added.
But in December, McConnell was privately beginning to raise alarms, warning GOP insiders that the party risks losing both chambers of Congress to the Democrats. Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 seat majority in the Senate.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE reportedly plans to aggressively campaign for GOP candidates in 2018 as the party struggles to hold on to majorities in the House and Senate in November. Every member of the House is up for election in the midterms, while about a third of senators also face reelection.