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The Republican Panic Over the Midterm Elections Is Growing

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Republicans are doubling down on their efforts to maintain or even increase their Senate majority—not because they think November’s elections are looking good for them, but because they’re so worried they’ll lose the House.

“Our donors will often say we need to do everything we can to hold onto the Senate, because there’s a chance we may not be able to hold the House,” said Steven Law, a former McConnell chief of staff who runs a super PAC called the Senate Leadership Fund. [...]

McConnell sounded similar notes Tuesday when he likened the electoral headwinds to a “Category 3, 4 or 5” storm. Republicans need to keep control of the Senate because “even if we were to lose the House and be stymied legislatively, we could still approve appointments, which is a huge part of what we do,” he told a local editorial board.

McConnell’s logic is, of course, exactly why it’s so important for Democrats to take the Senate, but it won’t be easy: Democrats have far more seats to defend in 2018 than Republicans, and 10 of them are in states Trump won. But Democrats are getting some unexpected opportunities to play offense, with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen leading Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in recent public polls for Tennessee’s open Senate seat and Republican primaries potentially complicating some other races.

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