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Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) indicated that he will support Senate candidates in 2022 based on “electability,” in comments to Politico published on Sunday.
McConnell made the comments shortly after the Senate voted to acquit former President Trump of “incitement of insurrection” in his second impeachment trial. While seven GOP senators voted to convict, McConnell chose to acquit but said Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the riot at the Capitol on January 6.
Now, with Republicans currently holding 50 Senate seats, making Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote, McConnell is eyeing the 2022 midterms in order to take back the chamber from Democrats.
Members of Trump’s family and staunch supporters could potentially enter key 2022 Senate races, including Lara Trump in North Carolina, Ivanka Trump in Florida, and Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward in her home state. Trump has also threatened to back a primary challenger to Senator John Thune of South Dakota.
McConnell told Politico that he will support candidates based on their ability to win elections.
“My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November ,” McConnell told Politico. “Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability.”
McConnell added, “I’m not predicting the president would support people who couldn’t win. But I do think electability — not who supports who — is the critical point.”
Other actors have already waded into preparations for the 2022 midterms, including former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who some see as a potential candidate for president in 2024. Haley has launched a PAC to support Republican candidates in the upcoming midterms.