Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is reportedly going to be much more involved in Republican primaries for the upcoming midterms than he has been in the past in an effort to make sure that the party wins back control of the U.S. Senate.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, McConnell said that the goal is not about alienating or promoting any certain type of Republican but rather to make sure that the candidate can win in November and will not hurt the party in races in other states.
“That may or may not involve trying to affect the outcome of the primaries,” McConnell noted, saying the key to the Republican Party winning back the U.S. Senate hinges on “getting candidates who can actually win in November.”
“I personally don’t care what kind of Republican they are, what kind of lane they consider themselves in,” McConnell said. “What I care about is electability.”
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Some Republicans who are squarely in the Trump wing of the party might easily win even a general election in deeply conservative areas. But such candidates risk complicating the party’s efforts elsewhere in more moderate areas of the country. If Mr. McConnell moves too aggressively against a pro-Trump candidate he deems too close to the fringes of the party, he could invite a backlash from the base.
But Mr. McConnell has said his party has suffered in the past from candidates who won Republican primaries but failed general elections.
McConnell said that former President Donald Trump could easily end up “supporting good candidates,” but he isn’t “assuming” that will automatically be the case.
“I was here in 2009, we were down to 40 [senators]. It took us six years to crawl out of that hole,” McConnell said. The GOP is starting with a split 50-50 Senate right now, which McConnell said is not “a bad spot” to start in.
McConnell conveyed in the interview that he does not want a civil war within the Republican Party and that he hopes the party can unify in opposition to the Biden administration because not “many Republicans are going to be for very many of the things that are coming out of this administration.”
“I think the party genuinely needs to cleanse itself of the stain of Trump,” Geoffrey Kabaservice, director of political studies at the Niskanen Center, a center-right think tank, said. “But no one has won money by betting against Mitch McConnell. When McConnell feels that it’s the best thing to do to maintain this position, and not have the Republican Party go through a kind of purgation, an agonized self-reappraisal, he is probably right.”
The Journal’s report indicated that top strategists close to McConnell believe that fringe lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has been rebuked by members of the party for promoting conspiracy theories, can be “weeded out and separated from” the party so they don’t cause damage to other Republican candidates.
The report said that McConnell was still “fuming” over the results of the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which he called “a fiasco” and said “we all know why that occurred.”
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