McConnell: Battle for control of the Senate will be a 'dogfight'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal Pelosi, Schumer say White House declined T coronavirus deal COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance MORE (R-Ky.) warned on Monday that the battle for control of the Senate in the November election will be a "dogfight," with neither party currently having a "lock" on winning the majority. 

McConnell, speaking to Fox News Radio, said Republicans are "on the defense" as they try to keep their Senate majority. Republicans are defending 23 seats, compared with 12 for Democrats, though many of them are in deep red states. 

"Let me just say that the Senate majority has not been a certainty at any point this cycle. We always knew from the beginning, and I've said consistently, that it's going to be a dogfight," McConnell said. 

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McConnell added that the makeup of the Senate map means Republicans have "a lot of exposure," where Democrats will try to unseat GOP incumbents. But he also pointed to Alabama and Michigan — where Democratic Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersTop Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (Mich.) are on the ballot — as "really good" pickup opportunities for Republicans. 

"I think it's a tough fight. We don't have a lock on it, nor do they. It's going to be a fight to the finish. Sort of like a knife fight in an alley," McConnell said.  

Democrats are feeling increasingly bullish about their chances of taking back the majority in November as tightening in several key races has put them increasingly in striking distance in states including Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina, where GOP Sens. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Hillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (Ariz.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters The US military has options against China McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill MORE (Colo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus New polls show tight races for Graham, McConnell MORE (Maine) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters The Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP MORE (N.C.) are on the ballot. 

Democrats need to pick up three seats to win control of the chamber if the party also wins the White House or a net total of four seats to get an outright simple majority.  

The signs of momentum for Democrats come as their candidates have outraised GOP incumbents in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

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Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) had its best-ever first-quarter fundraising haul at $28 million, though the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $30.3 million in the first three months of 2020. The DSCC, however, outraised its GOP counterpart in March, bringing in $11 million to the NRSC's $9.1 million.  

McConnell on Monday argued that it was "not new" that Democrats were outspending them and raising more money but noted that Republicans had held and expanded the majority in previous cycles. 

"I think it is also true that the Democrats are doing a better job of raising funds in recent years than we have. But we took the Senate in 2014, we kept it in 2016, we increased our number in 2018, so the fact that the Democrats are raising more money shouldn't raise any eyebrows," he said.