After Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Election Day and made small gains in the Kentucky General Assembly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not happy” with how Republicans performed in suburban areas.
During a news conference in Frankfort Friday, McConnell praised Kentucky Republicans for stymieing Democrats’ goal of gaining major ground in the state legislature, but said he hopes that his party can do better in more urban areas.
“I think there’s no question that we’re sliding in the suburbs, that’s probably a big reason for the loss of the U.S. House. It is disturbing,” McConnell said.
“It looks to me like this rural-urban divide we’re seeing nationally is also the case in Kentucky.”
Democrats were able to flip two suburban Republican state House districts in Louisville, one in Lexington and a handful of others in historically Democratic pockets around the state.
But Republicans erased nearly all of those victories with their own successes in rural House districts that have been trending Republican. Plus, Republicans flipped a seat in the state Senate by ousting veteran Democratic Sen. Dorsey Ridley of Henderson.
The net result is that Republicans still have supermajorities in both the state House and Senate, meaning they don’t need help from Democrats to pass Constitutional amendments or revenue bills.
McConnell said he thinks Republicans’ success in rural areas on a national level will help the party stay on top in the U.S. Senate.
“I’ll remind everybody that every state’s got two senators and we’ve got a lot of red states,” McConnell said. “I think that bodes well hopefully for the future of having the senate Republican majority.”
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s replacement of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, McConnell said he doesn’t think that Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference will be quashed.
“There’s never been any indication that he wants to dismiss Mueller or the investigation. It’s going to be allowed to finish,” McConnell said.
“I can’t imagine something like that would happen. It’s not going to happen. You’re trying to get me to speculate about things that I’m confident are not going to happen.”
Sessions has been temporarily replaced by his former chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker. On multiple occasions, Whitaker has said he thinks Mueller’s investigation has gone too far and has suggested defunding the operation.