Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) warned on Monday that he and his allies are willing to step into Republican Senate primaries to try to prevent a candidate they view as unelectable in November 2022 from advancing.
McConnell, during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, was asked if he and the Senate Leadership Fund, an outside group closely aligned with the Kentucky Republican, would be willing to intervene in 2022 Republican primaries.
“If necessary,” McConnell told Hewitt about their willingness to get involved in Republican primaries.
“There’s no question that in order to win … you have to appeal to the general election audience,” McConnell added. “I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Hopefully we won’t have to intervene, but if we do, we will.”
Republicans are hoping to take back the Senate majority in 2022, where they are defending 20 seats compared to 14 for Democrats. Among those states are four open seats, and two seats in states won in 2020 by President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE. They are also hoping to unseat Democrats in states like Georgia, Arizona and New Hampshire, states all carried by Biden last year.
McConnell’s warning comes as the party watched themselves lose seats they had hoped to flip in the 2010 and 2012 cycles after GOP candidates won the primary only to unravel in the general election.
He previously didn’t rule out in February the potential that he would get involved.
But his new remarks come as the party is facing renewed primary headaches heading into 2022; they face crowded fields in states like Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where loyalty to former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE remains a critical factor.
Trump has also come out hard against some GOP incumbents, including vowing to challenge Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPelosi: ‘No intention’ of abandoning Democrats’ infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill MORE (R-Alaska), who hasn’t formally announced if she’s going to run for reelection. He also previously heavily criticized Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph Thune‘The era of bipartisanship is over’: Senate hits rough patch Bipartisan talks sow division among Democrats Senate passes long-delayed China bill MORE (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2.
Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, told Axios earlier this month that the group reserved “the right to intervene in cases where a candidate is a clear threat to lose a seat in a general election” and to support GOP incumbents.