This election cycle, Mitch McConnell hasn’t been a profile in optimism. Apparently, that’s changing. In a recent interview, McConnell expressed optimism about Sherrod Brown’s Ohio senate seat. (Perhaps he got a copy of Salena Zito’s great new book and realized that there’s a realignment happening?)
Sen. McConnell told the Hill “I saw a survey within the last week in Ohio indicating that race is very competitive. I would certainly add Ohio to the list.” A source in Ohio added “Within the past week a number of Republicans have been talking about it behind the scenes. The survey has given Republicans reason for hope. It’s internal polling.”
Anytime that a source cites internal polling, that’s a legitimate reason for skepticism. Still, Jim Renacci is a top-tier candidate who just received President Trump’s endorsement. Those can’t be ignored whatsoever. The other thing that’s impossible to ignore is the fact that President Trump won Ohio by a pretty healthy margin:
These aren’t signs that indicate an easy race for Sen. Brown. Rather, as I’ve argued, I think it points to a legitimate pickup opportunity for Republicans. Sen. Brown is essentially a socialist. He voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Renacci voted for them. Brown is a climate change true believer that supported President Obama’s anti-coal regulations.
What part of that sounds like a good match with today’s Ohio?
McConnell’s growing confidence about the midterm election is fueled by what he says is the most productive record by a “right-of-center” Congress in more than 30 years. “I’m now in my third decade in the Senate. This has been the best period, the best period right-of-center over the last 17 months, in the time that I’ve been here. It’s been a period of extraordinary accomplishment,” he said.
“We think we have made a very significant difference for the country in measurable ways,” McConnell added. “Conveying that to the voters in places that we have Senate races is going to be a big part of being competitive.” McConnell said he wants Trump to do more to talk up the Congress’s accomplishments, something GOP senators requested of the president during a recent meeting on Capitol Hill. “I’d like the president to talk about it more often and I believe he will going into the fall campaign,” he said.
Trump rattling off Republicans’ accomplishments won’t just help GOP senate candidates. It’ll help push House Republicans across the finish line, too.
I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. There’s lots of reasons to be bullish on Republicans in 2018. It won’t be a great year in the House in terms of gaining seats but it’s a far cry from the Democrats’ Blue Wave. Here’s what I see happening to the House Democrats’ Blue Wave in 2018: