Alex Roarty, National Journal:
Republicans don’t have much time to revel in their new Senate majority. After taking advantage of a 2014 map that included seven Democratic-held seats in red states, the GOP now must defend six seats in states President Obama won twice. And they must do so in a presidential year, when turnout is younger, more diverse, and altogether more favorable to Democrats.
Kevin McLaughlin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s new deputy executive director, knows many of the lessons learned in 2014 just won’t apply in 2016.
He sat down with National Journal to talk about the coming battle for the Senate majority, why Republicans are vowing not to repeat the mistakes Democrats made in 2014, and how Obamacare will remain relevant even six years after its passage. What follows is a transcript edited for length and clarity…
In 2016, a minority leader with popularity problems is up for re-election. Why will Harry Reid lose next year when Mitch McConnell didn’t in 2014?
He is his own worst enemy. He says things like, “I am homesick for the Senate floor.” The second thing is that it goes back to what I was talking about earlier, the fact that, he is the face of dysfunction in Washington. He was in 2014. And so a lot of the frustration the American people have with a lack of productivity in Washington is laid at his feet.
That’s what’s different than in 2010 for him. We’re in a situation now where people are really, really frustrated with Washington. By and large, people blame the dysfunction on the US Senate. And Democrats were in charge when Harry Reid ran the Senate. That’s what makes him more vulnerable.
Is he the GOP’s top target next year?
He’s the most vulnerable senator in the United States of America right now.