Senate

McConnell: 2022 midterms will be ‘very good election for Republicans’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is predicting Republicans will have a “very good election” next year, implying the party has a good chance of taking both chambers of Congress. 

The GOP winning control of both the House and Senate in 2022 would bring President Biden’s agenda to a grinding halt.

“I think the fall of ’22 is likely to be a very good election for Republicans,” McConnell told reporters at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Life Learning Center in northern Kentucky.

McConnell hinted that he thinks the 50-50 Senate, which Democrats control because of Vice President Harris’s power to break tie votes, is likely to flip to Republicans. 

“I’m very optimistic. We have 50 Republicans senators. I know what a real minority looks like. We had 40 after President Obama got elected. And so I think the wind is going to be at our back in both the House and Senate. I think there’s a great likelihood of a pretty good election next year,” he added. 

The bold prediction comes despite a favorable election map for Democrats next year.

Twenty Republican seats are up for reelection next year, while only 14 Democratic seats are up for grabs. 

And Republicans have to defend seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two states that Biden won narrowly. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring in Pennsylvania at the end of next year while Sen. Ron Johnson (R) still must decide whether to run for reelection.

But McConnell pointed out that an overwhelming majority of Americans think the country is headed on the wrong track and that a little known former Republican assemblyman, Jack Ciattarelli, almost defeated the Democratic New Jersey incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy in a state that Biden won last year by 16 points.

He also noted that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe pointed to Biden’s low approval rating as a political headwind in the race he lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, a state Biden carried by 10 points in 2020.

“We had a chance here for the American people to express themselves in those states that had some kind of elections this year about how they feel about what’s going on. Seventy-one percent of the American people [say] we’re going in the wrong direction, 71 percent. I’ve been around a while, I don’t remember 71 percent wrong track before,” he said.

McConnell highlighted the surprising defeat of longtime state Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, in New Jersey at the hands of Republican Ed Durr, a commercial truck driver who never held elected office and reportedly spent only a few thousand dollars on his campaign. 

“Obviously New Jersey voters were mad as hell at the national administration. The only thing they could do is go and vote against Democrats in New Jersey. I’m sure you saw a guy spent $150 and beat the state Senate president,” McConnell said. “They were mad as heck. … This is a state the president carried by 16 points.”

McConnell acknowledged the Virginia gubernatorial race “was more complicated than just a referendum on the president,” though he added that “the president’s unpopularity, according to the Democratic candidate McAuliffe, was a problem.”

House Republicans are feeling equally confident about their prospects of taking over the lower chamber. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters last week that he thinks it’s possible House Republicans pick up 60 more seats.

“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year. You are no longer safe,” McCarthy said.

Tags Barack Obama Glenn Youngkin Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey Phil Murphy Ron Johnson Terry McAuliffe

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