McConnell: Midterms could be 'a Category 3, 4 or 5' storm for GOP

McConnell: Midterms could be 'a Category 3, 4 or 5' storm for GOP
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP’s midterm strategy takes shape MORE (R-Ky.) says that November's midterm elections will be "challenging" for Republicans, but he can't yet predict the strength of the headwinds.

“This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell said in a Tuesday interview with Kentucky Today. “We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5.”

McConnell said he’s optimistic his party can hold on to a majority in the Senate but the fight for the House, where every seat is up for election this year, will be more daunting.

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“I’m hoping we can hold the Senate,” he said, “And the principle reason for that, even if we were to lose the House and be stymied legislatively, we could still approve appointments, which is a huge part of what we do.” 

McConnell said he is pleased that his Senate was able to confirm 12 federal circuit judges and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in the first year of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE’s term.

“That’s more than the first year of any president since the circuit courts were created in 1891,” McConnell said.

The nation’s top conservative donors and fundraisers are also concerned by the possible “blue wave” the GOP is facing in the midterms. 

Democrats need to win 23 seats to win back the House. The president's party typically loses an average of 32 House seats during midterm elections.

Trump's job approval rating has been underwater for more than a year, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.

A Fox News poll, out last week, showed Democrats ahead of Republicans by 5 points on a generic ballot.