- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he thought the GOP would lose seats in the 2018 midterm elections.
- He attributed Republicans’ problems to large funding gaps and a rising tide of liberal Democratic challengers.
- A record number of female Democrats are likely to challenge Republicans across the country this year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about his party’s chances to maintain its slim majority in Congress.
In an interview with The New York Times published Saturday, the longtime Kentucky senator sounded pessimistic about the midterm elections coming up later this year.
“The odds are that we will lose seats in the House and the Senate,” McConnell said. “History tells you that, the fired-up nature of the political left tells you that. We go into this clear-eyed that this is going to be quite a challenging election.”
McConnell pointed to the GOP’s fundraising gap ahead of the elections, which he said was spurred by a large number of Democratic challengers for seats that had previously been deemed safe.
“I concede the fund-raising problem,” McConnell told The Times.
Anti-Trump women in particular have stepped up to the plate in 2018 to challenge Republican incumbents. According to TIME, a potentially record-doubling number of women, 79, are considering running for governor in 2018.
The same report also claims that the number of potential female Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives has increased by 350% since 2016.
Although McConnell had previously seemed optimistic about the GOP’s chances and said Republicans have “a pretty good map,” he has since grown more cautious. Since December, McConnell has reportedly been voicing his worries about the midterms in private.
But despite the apparent setbacks he’s worried about, McConnell was still encouraged by several key senators who had previously wanted to retire now saying they would run again.
“It does underscore that people want to be in the Senate,” he said. “And that’s a different environment from late summer, early fall.”
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