‘A nail-biter, all the way to the end’

McConnell confident of re-election, but puts odds of GOP keeping control of Senate, White House at 50-50

HYDEN, Ky. — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell returned to the campaign trail Thursday, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

McConnell made one stop in Eastern Kentucky, speaking with voters in Leslie County.

Heading into the final weekend of the campaign, the Senate majority leader is confident that voters will send him back to Washington for a seventh term.

“It’s been great,” McConnell said of what he’s seeing on the campaign trail. “We’re seeing a lot of happy, enthusiastic people. Looking for a big win on Tuesday … The enthusiastic crowds that are coming out, even in the midst of rain and coronavirus, certainly further convince me that we’re going to have a happy day on Tuesday.”

But while he is certain of returning to the Senate, he is less convinced that he will return as Senate majority leader. He likens his party’s chances of retaining control of the Senate and the White House to a coin flip.

“I think the president’s in a close race, and I think the majority in the Senate is going to be close as well,” McConnell said. “We’ve got hard-fought contests all over America, and I’d say it’s 50-50. It’s going to be a nail-biter, all the way to the end.”

McConnell also expressed regret about not making another Eastern Kentucky stop, saying he had planned to campaign in the Big Sandy region before the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We were planning on coming to Pikeville, but the governor declared Pike County a red zone,” McConnell said.