(The Hill) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday predicted that Republicans have a better chance of flipping the House than the Senate, citing candidate quality, again taming expectations for the upper chamber less than three months out from the midterm elections.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said when asked about his expectations for the midterms during an event in Kentucky, according to NBC News.
“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” he added.
McConnell’s comments come less than three months out from the midterm elections, which Republicans have eyed as their opportunity to take control of the House and Senate.
McConnell previously said the November midterms would be “very good” for Republicans, pointing in-part to President Joe Biden’s poor approval. Historically speaking, the party not in power in the White House — in this case, Republicans — have gained control of Congress.
But the Senate leader has since changed his tone, taming expectations as the outlook dampens for Republicans. The shift in perspective came after a number of Trump-backed Senate candidates who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen received the GOP nomination.
On Thursday, the Cook Political Report switched its rating for the Pennsylvania race from “toss up” to “lean Democrat.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats are favored to win the Senate, 64% to 36%, while Republicans hold an edge on Democrats when it comes to the House, 77% to 23%.
Earlier this month, McConnell said he thinks control of the Senate will be “very tight” after the November races.
“I think it’s going to be very tight. We have a 50-50 nation. And I think when this Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly,” he said.
On Thursday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Senate Leadership Fund, which has connections to McConnell, took out a $28 million ad campaign in Ohio to bolster Vance.