GOP campaign director: ‘There’s no doubt that Republicans will control the Senate’

Bonnie Cash

The chairman of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm expressed confidence Wednesday that the party will retain control of the upper chamber after this fall’s elections, during which it must defend several seats in competitive races.

“There’s no doubt that Republicans will control the Senate,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin said in a livestreamed interview with Politico.

McLaughlin’s confidence comes as polling shows Republican incumbents trailing their Democratic challengers in a slate of key races, including in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. Handicappers have either said that control of the Senate is a toss-up or leans Democratic.

The GOP currently holds a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats must pick up a net of three seats to flip the chamber if they also win the White House, or four seats if President Trump is reelected. 

Republicans are confident in their chances of knocking off Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, though there are very few other offensive opportunities, and the GOP is defending several competitive seats including in Georgia, Iowa and Montana.

McLaughlin said his polling shows much tighter contests than public surveys and he feels good with where GOP incumbents are running, particularly in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that has rejiggered races across the country. 

“My internal data’s a lot different, and it shows that all these races at the very least are jump balls, at the very least, which given all the atmospherics, I’ll take it every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I feel really, really strong about our starting position going into the final stretch,” he said. “I feel strong about where we sit and where we’re going.”

McLaughlin specifically boasted confidence in the races in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina, saying he did not think Democrats would be able to sweep all four states and beyond.

“If I was sitting in a chair at the other place right now, I wouldn’t feel very good about that. They’re not going to go four-for-four in those states,” McLaughlin said. “I know how to beat guys like [Colorado Democrat] John Hickenlooper. I know how to beat guys like [Montana Democrat] Steve Bullock. We know how to beat these people because we’ve done it time and time and time again and we’re going to do it again.” 

Republicans have repeatedly touted the need to hold onto the Senate with Democrats anticipated to keep the House and former Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump in polls nationally and in swing states, albeit by narrowing margins, warning of the potential for unified Democratic control of the government.

The NRSC has had its most successful fundraising cycle in its history and outraised the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), its counterpart, in July. However, the DSCC still has a wide cash-on-hand advantage, boasting a $40 million campaign account compared with $16.4 million for the NRSC.

Tags 2020 2020 campaign 2020 election Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Donald Trump doug jones Joe Biden John Hickenlooper National Republican Senatorial Committee Steve Bullock
See all Hill.TV See all Video