Four months later, McConnell scheduled valuable floor time and votes on the bill, even though most of Washington was not on the radar, paving the way for its passage – and Gardner and Dines cut down on the advertising campaigns promoting the victory.
“Doing it from a good government perspective is not the only right thing to do, for sure – it needs to help Corey and Steve, they have worked hard on it,” McConnell told CNN this week.
This episode illustrates McConnell’s serious focus on holding his perch on the Senate and keeping the majority in the hands of the GOP, navigating one of the most confusing elections of his long political career while finding a way to have a Republican in the White House – who also tends to put GOP senators back in the jam.
When asked if he thinks Trump is a net positive for Senate Republican candidates on the ticket, McConnell says: “We’ll find out, we only know the next day of the election.”
When he faced one of the toughest senate maps of the year, with 23 GOP seats in the cycle compared to 12 for the Democrats, the Republic of Kentucky sought to pour millions into his deeply-funded donor network by sending millions to his well-funded Super PAC colleagues like his vulnerable GOP colleagues . He reviews every ad that airs on key races on a daily basis, offering advice and suggestions to his teammates about sending a message to his party.
With the power to set a schedule in the Senate, McConnell took steps to prevent his weaker members from attacking the Democratic offensive, ending Thursday’s vote to launch the GOP economic recovery plan after the Republican leader told his members privately. In conference calls that such a vote would be crucial as Republican senators are expected to hang on to their seats in November.
In Wednesday’s interview, McConnell said it was a “very challenging cycle to capture the majority” and called it a “50-50 situation”, arguing that the races were in Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Maine and Georgia. Is too close to call.
“That’s why I described it as a sword fight in the Alley,” McConnell said of his fight for the Senate. “Everyone is slugging it.”
That’s why McConnell could not bear to see his allies disagree with Trump, to retaliate with the slightest perception of the president’s popularity, to create politically damaging distractions and to reduce the long-term opinion of the GOP leader to maintain the party’s best postural unity.
But McConnell found a way to use Trump’s help to his advantage: persuading him to help his preferred candidates, who had a good chance of winning in November.
Initially attacked by Kobach’s rival, Republican Roger Marshall, the Conservative group Club for Growth, the subject of the ads, Republican leaders were concerned that Kobach would pave the way to primary success. So McConnell gave Trump a piece of advice: Ask the Club for Growth to end that ad campaign.
Trump, sitting in the Oval Office, called Group President David McIntosh, put the speaker in the Oval Office on the phone and gave a blunt message: “Stop carving” Marshall, according to sources close to Trump. Trump told the crowd leader that McConnell was listening in the living room.
Shortly afterwards, the Club for Growth stopped its massive advertising campaign, and Marshall later won a landslide victory, giving Republican leaders more hope to retain a seat in November and hold the Senate.
Recalling the episode on Wednesday, McConnell referred to Trump as “an example of his cooperation.”
“If you do not nominate people who can attract a general election audience, you will lose,” McConnell said. “So the president has been helpful in working with me and making sure the right people are nominated.”
McConnell: Senators want ‘in danger’ stimulus bill
Amid the coronavirus epidemic, McConnell was trying to ally himself with the Trump administration during Washington’s response, despite Democrats denouncing Democrats for hitting a “pause” for further mitigation measures, which were approved after nearly $ 3 trillion in emergency aid. Spring.
In mid-July, McConnell gave signs that he was ready to move on to another relief package – but after weeks of negotiations with White House and fellow GOP senators, the tr 1 trillion plan he unveiled prompted a sharp pushback from his colleagues and Trump. Refused to accept it. McConnell never put that bill forward for a vote, and the Trump administration tried to persuade top officials to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders, but to no avail.
Millions are still suffering from the financial crisis, and while many of his weaker colleagues are still eager to vote on the package, McConnell sought to unite his meeting behind the new recovery bill. In addition to top administration officials, McConnell convened daily conference calls with his colleagues during the August break, hoping to bring back a proposal to thin out his party.
In private calls, some Republicans are unsure whether to vote on the GOP bill, which is unlikely to become law.
But McConnell made it clear he wanted to vote and said he wanted 51 of his colleagues to support the plan, which would allow Republicans to argue that 60 votes were needed because there was Democratic opposition to the plan, despite arguing that a majority in the Senate would support their policy.
In one call, McConnell told his colleagues, “People are 100% up and in any danger, they want to vote and they want a successful vote,” said a man on the call.
Republicans, however, argue that McConnell is doing it for himself – for the country and to defend his party until November.
When asked about McConnell’s focus on keeping the Senate, Texas Sen. John Cornin, a member of the GOP leadership team that faces voters this fall, said: “I would say it’s a 24-7 operation for him, but it’s probably underestimated.”
McConnell’s fundraising vision and plans to be a leader
He regularly zooms in with fundraising calls and donors to help his affiliate Senate Leadership Fund, along with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is surpassing his previous fundraising records. Over the past decade, McConnell has cultivated a massive donor network, the work he did to raise $ 117 million in cash for the Senate Leadership Fund by the end of July, a similar point in the last cycle of two and a half times more in reserves.
“There is no way we can stay where we are financially without the discipline and tireless promotion of Leader McConnell in our efforts to manage the Senate,” said Steven Law, who runs Super PAC.
McConnell said the group was “a huge help” in competing with Democratic outsiders, adding that it was “spending reasonable time” to point out its presence to “people who think it’s important to hold the Senate.”
In addition, McConnell, along with Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, sought to close this gap and reduce the Democrats’ online fundraising advantage. In this cycle alone, McConnell’s online fundraising has raised over $ 3 million for his GOP colleagues, according to a consultant.
That kind of fundraising that helped shoe-in the GOP leader to win or lose a majority in the Senate Republican Conference, adding to his tenure as the longest-serving GOP leader in history, he has been in office since 2007.
Asked if he would try to continue as GOP leader for a full six years if he wins his seventh term in November, McConnell said: “With two years of leadership elections, I’m definitely running for another position again, and we’ll see what the future holds.”
This article has been updated.
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to the report.
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