Democrats’ ability to hold their Senate majority midterm has defied both historical precedent and widely held expectations. They did so despite President Joe Biden remaining deeply unpopular, 40-year high inflation, soaring gas prices and a chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that left 13 military personnel dead. .
The GOP Senate losses have sparked intraparty fighting, as Republicans point fingers at Trump, Republican National Senate Committee Chairman Rick Scott and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Scott and McConnell engaged in a power struggle throughout the election cycle, with McConnell suggesting that Scott’s committee should have done more to prevent unpopular candidates from clinching the nomination. Meanwhile, Scott went rogue and announced a 12-point policy plan that didn’t get buy-in from McConnell or other members of the GOP leadership.
This summer, McConnell described the party’s slate of candidates as suffering from “candidate quality” issues — a description born of a public poll that showed many Republican Senate hopefuls this year were unpopular or largely unknown to Readership. Oz and Vance struggled for months to build trust with Republican voters after a particularly grueling and contentious primaries, and Democrats finally succeeded in painting the TV doctor as a wealthy Hollywood elite who rushed to Pennsylvania to try to take power.
The cold reception from the GOP base to some candidates has had major financial implications. Republican candidates have struggled to raise funds in the general election, forcing top super PACs like the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund to spend $240 million to boost candidates. Some of those funds — $37 million to Ted Budd in North Carolina and $32 million to Vance — went to help struggling candidates in states the party thought would be easy to defend this year. That meant diverting money from places the GOP had considered earlier in the cycle as tough but doable pick-ups, like Colorado and Washington.
The SLF also withdrew its funds from Arizona and New Hampshire, two competitive states that the super PAC said could no longer be won with party candidates. The decision angered top Tories, who said cutting Masters and Bolduc’s funding was retaliatory for candidates who did not pledge to support McConnell.
While the Republicans threw money at Colorado and Washington, they ultimately suffered double-digit losses in both.
Although Democrats hold the Senate, Biden still faces the prospect of governing a divided Congress.
Republicans are favored to narrowly capture a majority in the House, where a number of races remain unnamed. And if the Senate remains split 50-50, Biden may once again have to deal with divisiveness within his party from the senses. Joe Machin and Kyrsten Sinema.
Biden has pledged to work with Republicans.
“Regardless of what the final tally of this election shows — and there are still accounts to be held — I’m ready to work with my fellow Republicans,” Biden said at a press conference last week. “The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well.”