Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says he backs Mueller probe after classified briefing Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons MORE (R-Ky.) took a shot at Stephen Bannon on Friday, saying that his "political genius" led to Republicans losing the Alabama Senate seat. 

"Well, let me just say this: The political genius on display throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America is hard to ignore," McConnell told reporters with a laugh, asked if he blamed Bannon, President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey: Trump's 'Spygate' claims are made up Trump taps vocal anti-illegal immigration advocate for State Dept's top refugee job Seattle Seahawks player: Trump is 'an idiot' for saying protesting NFL players 'shouldn’t be in the country' MORE's former chief strategist, for Democratic candidate Doug Jones winning last week in Alabama. 
 
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Bannon, McConnell and their allies have publicly traded fire for months, with the Breitbart News executive calling on McConnell to resign and saying last month that he didn't expect the Kentucky Republican to be in leadership a year from now. 
 
 
McConnell also called on Moore to withdraw from the Senate race after multiple woman accused him of sexual misconduct and pursuing relationships with them they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. 
 
Moore and Bannon made McConnell a central figure in the Alabama race, pointing to him as out of touch and an example of Washington trying to control the state's primary. 
 
The fallout in Alabama isn't the first time conservatives have targeted the Senate GOP leader and incumbent senators.
 
Bannon is threatening to primary every GOP senator expect Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Tapper lists 'conspiracy theories' Trump has shared MORE (R-Texas), and several lawmakers are already facing conservative primary challengers. 
 
McConnell has pledged that he and his allies will play in GOP primaries in an effort to stop a repeat of 2010 and 2012, when some weak candidates defeated rivals from the GOP establishment in party primaries only to lose general elections.
 
"I and people who are allied with me — and I believe the White House will be in the same place I am — want to nominate people who can actually win," he said on Friday.
 
He added that "we're going to be supporting people who can actually win. ... I think we're going to be very competitive." 
 
Senate Republicans have to defend eight seats in 2018, compared to Democrats' 25, including 10 in states Trump won in 2016.