WASHINGTON -- For Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, this November is not just about winning re-election, its part of a long term strategy of power, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.
His party is trying to hold on to enough seats to deny majority Democrats absolute power in the Senate and prevent McConnell's authority from being sharply undercut, reports the Courier-Journal.
Substantial Democratic gains would make it far harder for McConnell, seeking a fifth term, to advance the GOP agenda and stop bills his party opposes. As things stand now, many analysts and even some Republicans predict a grim November.
"So far I haven't seen any news that's good for Senate Republicans," said Norman Ornstein, senior analyst with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, the C-J reports.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently advised his colleagues: "If you have an 'R' in front of your name, you better run scared."
Republicans have 49 of the Senate's 100 seats, and they hold 23 of the 35 seats at stake in this year's election.
Should the GOP lose nine of its current seats, Democrats would have the 60 votes they need, assuming the independent senators vote with them, under Senate rules to pass legislation without the threat of filibusters, which can block consideration of bills and nominations. That would leave Republicans with little chance of stopping Democratic initiatives, reports the newspaper.
McConnell acknowledged in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal last week that "the landscape is tough and the numbers are daunting."
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