Politics

Lindsey Graham Sees Big Election Night for Senate Republicans

Speaking at Heritage Foundation, Mitch McConnell was predictably more reserved

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is upbeat about the chances for big Senate Republican wins on Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is very bullish on the chances of Republicans expanding their Senate majority on Election Day in three weeks.

“We’re off to the races. Everything is breaking our way,” the South Carolina senator said Tuesday night. 

Speaking at a meeting of the Heritage Foundation President’s Club in downtown Washington, Graham said Republicans of different stripes were united in the aftermath of new Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation process.

“Run up the numbers here. If we can hold Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee — and I think Tennessee is done — this lady running in Arizona is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I think, [Democratic Rep. Kyrsten] Sinema is, and we’ve got a fighter pilot and I like her chances. Heller is awesome,” Graham said.

“You’ve got Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota where we’re breaking away. You’ve got Rick Scott doing a great job in Florida,” he added. “This could be really a big night for us.”

Asked what the room full of conservative activists should be doing to help get more of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominations confirmed, Graham said they should be sending even more money to GOP Senate campaigns.

He appeared particularly fired up about the monstrous fundraising haul of Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who is challenging GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

“Write a check. These people have got more money than they’ve got sense. $38 million for Robert Francis O’Rourke, who apparently was born in an Irish ghetto in Barcelona. This is upside down,” Graham said. “He’s the Hispanic guy running against Cruz. You can’t make this crap up.”

Graham was the warm-up act Tuesday night for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who received a similarly warm response from the conservative Heritage Foundation audience after the Kavanaugh confirmation.

And predictably, the Kentucky Republican was more reserved in his predictions about what might happen on Election Day. McConnell again told a story about the confidence he sensed from New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, now the minority leader, ahead of the 2016 election.

That year’s Senate map looked much better on paper for the Democrats, while the 2018 one looks much better on paper for McConnell and the Republican Conference.

“It’s best not to fall in love with the map, but we do have a good map,” McConnell said.

As he has done during recent interviews with Roll Call and other news outlets, McConnell said he saw a real uptick in enthusiasm after the Kavanaugh confirmation fight, but he also reiterated the large number of tight races three weeks out.

“We have nip-and-tuck, could go either way races in Arizona, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida,” he said. “All of those could go either way.”

ICYMI: Midterm Races Tightening After Trump Defends Kavanaugh and Unleashes on Campaign Trail

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