Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNBC on Friday that the GOP could face "a bloodbath of Watergate proportions" on Election Day if voters are feeling "depressed" about the economy and the pandemic.

The state of play: President Trump has sought to use the economy as a pivoting point from the pandemic throughout his re-election campaign. But if that pitch fails, it could spell trouble for Republicans.

  • Several GOP senators are facing tough re-election bids, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joni Earnst (R-Iowa) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

What he's saying: "I am worried. It’s volatile, it’s highly volatile ... if people are going back to work, if they’re optimistic, if they’re positive about the future, we could see a fantastic election — the president getting reelected with a big margin, Republicans winning both Houses of Congress and I think that’s a real possibility," Cruz said.

  • "But I also think if on Election Day people are angry and they’ve given up hope and they’re depressed, which is what [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer want them to be, I think it could be a terrible election. I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions."

Go deeper

Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Several Republican senators defended Anthony Fauci after a string of attacks in recent days from President Trump, who has called the government's top infectious-disease expert "a disaster" and claimed without evidence that he's a Democrat.

Why it matters: As polls indicate warning signs for both Trump and down-ballot Republicans, more GOP leaders are urging the president to stop downplaying the pandemic and listen to advice from public health experts. Fauci is one of the most trusted voices in the country on coronavirus issues.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden has huge cash advantage over Trump as Election Day nears

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month, as campaigning enters the final stretch ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.