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Trump Tells Donors Privately It Will Be 'Very Tough' for GOP to Keep Senate Majority

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Trump Tells Donors Privately It Will Be 'Very Tough' for GOP to Keep Senate Majority

2020-10-26 14:49:07

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

Many have been musing that Republicans will have a difficult time holding onto the Senate majority, and it turns out Donald Trump feels the same. He was heard telling donors that it would be "very tough" for the GOP to remain in control.

"I think the Senate is tough actually. The Senate is very tough," said the president at a Nashville fundraiser, according to someone who attended. "There are a couple senators I can't really get involved in. I just can't do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can't help some of them. I don't want to help some of them."

Many people agree with Trump regarding the Senate, but they don't agree about the chances of the House flipping to the Republicans. He believes they "are going to take back the House."

Many Senate strategists believe the GOP's chances of remaining in control are being undermined by Trump's comments and his low poll numbers.

Senate Republicans see the writing on the wall, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In a recent radio interview, he put his chances of continuing to lead the Senate at "50-50."

Strategists are blaming the Senate's chances on Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, with around 225,000 dead in the country, as well as his performance in the first debate with former Vice President Joe Biden and the White House becoming ground zero for the virus.

"The Republican-led Senate and President Trump have had a great partnership over the last four years, highlighted by the fact the chamber is poised to confirm a third Trump Senate Court nominee in the coming days," explained a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Jesse Hunt, arguing that Trump does have support among the Senate GOP.

"Nancy Pelosi has turned the House into a liberal nightmare, and if Chuck Schumer gets control of the Senate, he'll do the same thing."

Currently, the Senate has a slim 53-to-47 majority. Democrats only need to pick up three seats if Biden wins to have control.

Earlier, Republicans laid out the chances of retaining the chamber by separating senators into two tiers. At the front of the most vulnerable group are Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). With many assuming Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has a lock on the Senate win, both sides have stopped spending on the Senate race there.

The second tier is the senators once referred to as the GOP "firewall." This includes Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).

But that firewall is starting to erode, and some senators once seen as untouchable, no longer seem so safe, such as Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). It depends on who you listen to how safe Graham's seat is. Some still expect him to win, while others believe it's close, with his Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison having the edge.

Republican donors are doing their thing trying to save the Senate, worried that Democrats will control both chambers and the White House. "Donors are increasingly alarmed that we might lose the Senate," said donor Dan Eberhart.

Even with the concern from donors, Democrats are out-raising Republicans nationwide. Even a Democrat involved in a scandal is safe. The married Cal Cunningham acknowledged sending sexually-suggestive texts to another woman. This has taken a toll on the favorability of the self-styled moral leader, an Iraq Water veteran, but most still believe he's safe.

Trump believes Tillis can beat Cunningham, though. "I think Tillis is getting back in this one because his opponent ended up having more affairs than you're allowed to have at one time," said the president. And frankly, of all people, Trump should know.

He also likes challenger Tommy Tuberville's chances against Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). Democrats agree with him. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ran against Tuberville in the primary to get his old seat back but lost.

"We're going to take Alabama. We got rid of Jeff Sessions. Thank goodness. He was the worst. I would have gone for the Democrat over him. That wouldn't have been too good," said Trump, changing into a Fake News voice to say, "The president has just endorsed a Democrat."

Tuberville has been a college head football coach at three schools. "You have a really good coach, a really great coach actually. Urban Meyer said not only would he be a good politician, he was a great coach. He's the only one who beat Urban Meyer twice. That's pretty good. We should call him sometime soon."

Trump said he's been "working and calling and tweeting" for some members of the Senate, yet there are some who have distanced themselves from him because of his declining favorability.

McSally wouldn't say whether she is proud of her support for him recently. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has been critical of the president's response to the pandemic, explaining he "let his guard down" and "got out over his skis."

There are no House Republicans leaders predicting the chamber will be in their hands on Nov. 4. Instead, they are looking at possibly losing more seats and suggesting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could be in danger. 

The attendee sharing Trump's comments to donors said he received no tough questions. Instead, he was praised for his response to the pandemic and taking on the "medical swamp."

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