A fight for control of the Senate is raging across the country, but viewers who tuned in to the Republican National Convention this week could be forgiven if they did not realize it.
In a two-and-a-half-minute taped address on Thursday night, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, urged voters to back Republican senators as a “firewall” against Democrats. But other than those remarks on the convention’s closing night, vulnerable Republican senators battling to hang on to their party’s majority were almost absent from the stage.
One who did appear in prime time, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, focused on a wind storm that hit her state without even mentioning that she was running for re-election, or that control of the Senate — crucial to the next president — was on the ballot.
And when Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader responsible for retaking control of the House, spoke early Thursday evening in his own taped remarks, he said nothing about his party’s efforts to reclaim the majority, an endeavor that most now privately concede is unlikely to succeed. The only candidate he mentioned was President Trump.