In the final stretch of the 2020 election season, the presidential race’s slim margins have extended to other down-ballot campaigns, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear in remarks this week.
Despite its current 53-47 majority in the Senate, McConnell forecast a mere “50-50” chance that the GOP retains its lead in the chamber after Election Day, as reported by Fox News.
“This is a huge Republican class”
His sobering remarks came on Wednesday as he campaigned in his home state.
“It’s a 50-50 proposition,” he said. “We have a lot of exposure. This is a huge Republican class. There are dogfights all over the country.”
The Republican Party is hoping to recapture the Alabama seat currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat who defeated a vulnerable Republican opponent in his 2017 special-election race against Roy Moore.
At the same time, however, Democrats are increasingly optimistic about their chances in races elsewhere across the country, notably Colorado, Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maine.
The basic math of this particular election is also stacked against the GOP.
“We’re fighting for our way of life”
While Democrats are only defending 12 seats, Republicans are up against strong Democratic opposition in nearly twice as many races. Only one Senate seat currently held by a Democrat is considered GOP-leaning, according to the Cook Political Report, which places the number of GOP-held seats either as a toss-up or Democratic-leaning at nine.
“If you look at the Democratic Party today, you ought to be frightened,” he said in describing the perceived battle his party is waging. “We’re fighting for our way of life.”
As for his own re-election bid, however, McConnell continues to express optimism that he will defeat Democratic rival Amy McGrath.
“I’m confident that I’m going to be successful,” he said. “I’ve made my case to the people of Kentucky; I think it’s a convincing case.”
With one election forecast model from FiveThirtyEight giving Democrats nearly three in four odds of retaking control of the Senate for the first time since 2014, McConnell and others in his party are sounding the alarm before time runs out on Nov. 3.