Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview he hopes Republicans can keep the majority in the Senate, acknowledging it might be a tough midterms.
“This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell told members of the Kentucky Today editorial board on Tuesday. “We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5.”
Every seat is up for reelection in the House, while only a third of the seats in the Senate are up for the midterms.
In the Senate, 26 seats are held by Democrats – 10 incumbent Democrats have seats in states President Donald Trump won.
“I’m hoping we can hold the Senate,” he said. “And the principle reason for that, even if we were to lose the House and be stymied legislatively, we could still approve appointments, which is a huge part of what we do.”
In the interview, McConnell also told the editorial board that the confirmations of conservative judges to the federal judicial system is a lasting accomplishment for him.
“I believe that’s the most important thing we’re doing,” McConnell said. “You’ve heard me say before that I thought the decision I made not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy when Justice (Antonin) Scalia died was the most consequential decision I’ve made in my entire public career. The things that will last the longest time, those are my top priorities.”
He said he reached out to the White House general counsel shortly after the 2016 election to encourage him to move quickly with nominations of judges in their 40s and 50s.
“I said ‘we’ve got a chance to transform the country in a very significant way for the next generation if we can get our act together,’” McConnell said.