Feb 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell may weigh in on Republican primaries

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves his office and walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on February 8

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves his office at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 8. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated in a Wall Street Journal interview Monday that he may become involved in the Republican primaries for the 2022 midterms.

Why it matters: McConnell and the GOP will have to balance candidates aligned with former President Trump, who remains popular among Republican voters, and those more likely to win seats in contested states.

  • Democrats regained control of the Senate after winning twin runoffs in Georgia, after Trump made baseless electoral fraud claims and phoned the state's top elections official to ask him to "find" enough votes to change the result.
  • "Georgia was a fiasco," is how McConnell summed it up to WSJ. "We all know why that happened.

What else he's saying: McConnell told the Journal that to retake the Senate, Republicans had to get "candidates who can actually win in November."

  • "That may or may not involve trying to affect the outcome of the primaries," he said.
  • "I personally don’t care what kind of Republican they are, what kind of lane they consider themselves in. What I care about is electability."

Of note: McConnell said he hadn't ruled out the prospect that Trump "may well be supporting good candidates."

  • "I'm not assuming that, to the extent the former president wants to continue to be involved, he won't be a constructive part of the process," McConnell said.

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