Kevin McLaughlin, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, expressed confidence Wednesday that the GOP will hold its Senate majority in November.
“There’s no doubt that Republicans will control the Senate,” McLaughlin said during an interview hosted by Politico.
McLaughlin’s comments come as Republicans defend seats across the country in an effort to preserve their 53-47 majority in the upper chamber. Despite his confidence, many GOP incumbents are facing the toughest elections of their careers, polls have shown.
Republican senators in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Maine have consistently polled behind their Democratic challengers, according to FiveThirtyEight, while normally safe GOP seats in states like Montana, Iowa and South Carolina have turned into competitive races in the final months before the election.
Despite the polls, McLaughlin relied on private NRSC data, describing tight Senate races throughout the country as “jump balls” and predicting that the Democrats’ tailwind was not as strong as it seems, Politico reported.
To retake the majority, Democrats have to gain a net of three seats, assuming Democratic nominee Joe Biden also wins the presidency. Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is widely seen as an underdog going into his reelection, meaning that Democrats will likely need to flip at least four Republican-held seats.
“If I was sitting in a chair at the other place right now, I wouldn’t feel very good about that. They’re not going to go four-for-four in those states,” he said, referring to Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Maine.
“I know how to beat guys like [Colorado Democrat] John Hickenlooper. I know how to beat guys like [Montana Democrat] Steve Bullock,” he told Politico.
Hickenlooper, a popular former governor from his home state, has consistently held a double-digit lead against incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, who some forecasters say is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent this cycle.
Steve Bullock, the current term-limited governor of Montana, is polling even with GOP Sen. Steve Daines in a state that went for President Donald Trump by 20 points in 2016. Montana voters, however, are known to sometimes split their tickets, and reelected Democratic Sen. Jon Tester by 3.5 points two years ago.
McLaughlin also noted that GOP donors “literally have panic attacks” about Democrats’ agenda, which they will be much more likely to achieve with a Senate majority. The NRSC raised more money through Aug. 9 than in any previous electoral cycle, he told Politico.