McConnell talking to Romney about Senate race

McConnell talking to Romney about Senate race
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees next week Taiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress MORE (R-Ky.) says he has had conversations with Mitt Romney about possibly running to succeed Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPhRMA CEO 'hopeful' Trump officials will back down on drug pricing move Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney MORE (R-Utah).

McConnell said, however, that the possibility of him recruiting Romney or anyone else would depend entirely on whether Hatch decides to run for an eighth term.

“I’ve had some conversations with Mitt Romney. Obviously I’m an Orrin Hatch supporter. Orrin has to decide what he wants to do. If he wants to run again, I’m for him,” he told reporters Friday morning.

The Atlantic first reported that Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a former Massachusetts governor, was considering a race for the Senate.

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McConnell said he hopes that Republicans will keep the Senate majority in the midterm elections, which traditionally are tough for the president’s party. 

But he declined to handicap the GOP’s chances of picking up Democratic-held seats in 10 states that supported President Trump in November.

“I would certainly hope we could hold the Senate and that's certainly going to be our goal,” he said. 

He also downplayed the threat of Tea Party or far-right candidates challenging GOP incumbents or winning nominations in battleground states and hurting the party's chances of winning in the general election.

“I don't think that's going to be a problem,” he said. “We intend to renominate all of our incumbents and we intend to play in primaries if there's a clear choice between someone who can win in November and someone who can't.

“The idea, I always remind people, is to win the election,” he said, noting that GOP primary results in 2010 and 2012 often determined which party would win Senate seats in the general election.