Senate Republican campaign chair feels good about majority in November: ‘I want 51’

Senate Republican campaign chief Steve Daines is cautiously optimistic that Republicans will retake the Senate come November.

“I want 51. That’s the majority,” Daines, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told Fox News this week.

A slim majority, but a majority nonetheless. One not seen since 2022, the year that Democrats retook the Senate.

Daines is confident — “We like our chances,” he said — thanks to polling data showing that the GOP is favored to win the Senate this year.

“The first state that we know that we’re going to win at this point is West Virginia,” Daines said. “There’s one pickup seat right there.”

Another one he’s confident about is Maryland, where outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan is running for the Senate.

“We like where Larry’s at,” Daines said. “We know that’s going to be a tough race because Maryland is a blue state, but it’s a Hogan state first and foremost.”

Daines’ hesitancy contrasts sharply with the optimism his NRSC predecessor, Sen. Rick Scott, displayed before the 2022 midterms. At the time he predicted Republicans would wind up with 55 seats. Instead, they won only 49.

The good news is that Daines has learned lessons from his predecessor’s past mistakes.

“We looked at the results of 2022,” he told Fox News. “Nobody was happy. Everybody likes winning; nobody likes to lose. So we looked first and foremost at a strategy that will start with finding candidates that could win not just primary elections but also general elections.”

“So that was our going-in strategy. We’re positioned now in most of these states with candidates that not only can win primaries, but are making every general election race right now very competitive,”  he added.

After Daines took over as NRSC chair in December of 2022, he vowed at the time to do “whatever it takes to make sure we have a Republican majority.” Years later, it appears he’s sticking to that promise.

In fairness, things look different this time around. After the 2022 race, many blamed former President Donald Trump, whose candidate picks mostly got completely obliterated.

“Herschel Walker in Georgia, Blake Masters in Arizona, Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who won their primaries due in part to Trump’s endorsements and support, all went down in defeat,” Fox News notes.

But this time around, Trump is working much more closely with Daines’ NRSC and also Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure victories across the board.

Daines credits some of this to the “strong, productive working relationship, a friendship” he has with Trump.

“From the very beginning, the president and I have worked very closely, very carefully, finding candidates that we agree on, that are the best candidates that can not only win primaries but general elections,” he said.

“We compare notes… there’s trust built there, constructive dialogue. We text and speak to each other frequently … as we shape the Senate map for 2024,” he added.

That said, things haven’t been perfect.

“Daines hasn’t been able to totally avoid competitive and contentious primaries,” according to Fox News. “The Trump-supported Bernie Moreno earlier this year won a combustible nomination battle in Ohio, although the contest wasn’t as bitter as the 2022 GOP Senate primary slugfest in the Buckeye State.”

“And Republican Senate primaries are heating up in Michigan and Nevada, where Trump and the NRSC are once again backing the same candidate,” as noted by Fox News.

In Nevada meanwhile, former Army Ofc. Sam Brown is being backed by both Trump and Daines’ NRSC. The only problem is that former Trump administration Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter has reportedly vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to defeat Brown.

Over in Michigan, wealthy entrepreneur Sandy Pensler has been spending oodles of money running targeting former Rep. Mike Rogers, who too is backed by both Trump and the NRSC.

“He has the full, complete, 100% endorsement and support of President Trump, of the NRSC, and that’s why Mike Rogers will win that primary,” Daines said.

Over on the other side of the aisle, the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee argued that stories about the NRSC’s successes this election cycle have been prematurely written.

“Senate Republicans’ roster of recruits is reeling from a series of reports uncovering their lies about their biographies, vulnerabilities tied to their finances and a lifetime of toxic statements and policy positions,” DSCC spokesperson Tommy Garcia said.

“Meanwhile, their primaries in states like Nevada and Michigan are erupting in chaos. The NRSC’s big bet to back a bunch of unvetted carpetbaggers is looking worse by the day,” he added.

Vivek Saxena


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