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McConnell says Trump fueled ‘candidate quality’ problems in the midterms

Semta News
Semta News
3 Min Read

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump’s endorsements in important 2022 primaries contributed to the nomination of poor candidates who fell short in swing states.

He made the remarks at his weekly press conference, responding to a question from NBC News about whether he intends to play a more active role in selecting candidates in the 2024 election cycle, when Republicans have a friendlier map.

“We ended up having a candidate quality test,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters regarding the 2022 election. “Look at Arizona. Look at New Hampshire. And the challenging situation in Georgia as well,” he said, mentioning states where Trump-endorsed candidates won the primary and lost to Democrats in the general election.

In a rare move, McConnell explicitly identified Trump’s influence as problematic in the key Senate races.

“Our ability to control the primary outcome was quite limited in ‘22 because the support of the former president proved to be very decisive in these primaries. So my view was do the best you can with the cards you’re dealt. Now hopefully in the next cycle we’ll have quality candidates everywhere and a better outcome.”

McConnell said he saw an element of déjà vu from 2010 and 2012, when Republicans picked poor candidates and lost winnable races.

“I do think we have an opportunity to re-learn, one more time: We have to have quality candidates to win in competitive Senate races. We went through this in 2010 and 2012 with Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock,” he said, naming GOP candidates who lost their races. “And unfortunately we revisited that situation in 2022.”

By contrast, McConnell said his aligned super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, intervened in Alabama and Missouri to select preferred candidates, two red states that the GOP won in 2022.

The Kentucky Republican added, “Looking back at ‘22 — some of you may recall, I never said there was a red wave.”

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