With Republicans eyeing the Senate majority and his own job title poised to change, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has told the National Republican Senatorial Committee not to worry about his race.
In a briefing with reporters Thursday at the committee headquarters, NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran said McConnell is raising money for the committee as it seeks to add at least six Republican senators and retake control of the chamber — but the NRSC is “not actively engaged in Kentucky.” McConnell is running in a tight race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who’s one of the top fundraisers of the cycle and whose candidacy has already been assisted by Democrat-aligned outside groups. Still, Moran said he’s confident McConnell will win based on his experience, influence and the state’s Republican lean.
“We are not contributing to his race in Kentucky at his request,” Moran, a Kansan, said. “So, what is going to transpire in Kentucky is going to be determined by Sen. McConnell and his campaign team.”
McConnell does have the help of well-financed, Kentucky-based outside groups focused solely on his race, but he’s not accepting help from the official committee.
Reached for comment, McConnell senior adviser Josh Holmes said as the leader, McConnell doesn’t want to drain the committee’s resources, despite being involved in what may be the most expensive race of the cycle. Holmes noted McConnell made the same pledge in 2008.
“He’s hosted and attended dozens of events for the NRSC this cycle and has contributed directly from his campaign and leadership PAC,” Holmes said in an email. “Essentially, his take is that he carries his own weight so that the Committee can maximize it’s resources in pursuit of the majority.”
At the briefing, Moran reiterated remarks he made earlier this week to CQ Roll Call that Republicans have put about a dozen seats in play. He said Democrats’ ability to raise significant amounts of money — both their campaigns and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — is one of the challenges he sees in their pursuit.