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Senate Democrats’ campaign arm to troll GOP event with banner quoting McConnell on ‘candidate quality’

The Hill logo The Hill 9/15/2022 Caroline Vakil
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Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is seeking to capitalize on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) comments about candidate quality by trolling a Republican fundraiser with an airplane banner quoting the GOP leader.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) intends to fly a banner that reads “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome” — a quote from McConnell — during a Miami fundraiser featuring National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday evening, according to plans first shared with The Hill. 

Among the Republicans expected to be at the Miami fundraiser are incumbent Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) in addition to Senate candidates Blake Masters, Adam Laxalt, Mehmet Oz, J.D. Vance, Joe O’Dea, Tiffany Smiley and Rep. Ted Budd (N.C.).

“Some of Senate Republicans’ worst candidates will be together tonight, so we’re taking the opportunity to highlight how their disqualifying personal and political baggage has raised concerns at the highest levels of the Republican party. We hope the donors don’t look up,” DSCC spokesperson Nora Keefe said in a statement. 

The banner, which will be flown at the GOP event set to take place in Scott’s home state, comes amid a more public conversation that appears to have taken place between Scott and McConnell about Republicans’ prospects in the Senate.

A number of Republican challengers have been mired in negative headlines or lagged behind their Democratic counterparts in the last fundraising quarter. 

The comment from McConnell was made during an event in Kentucky last month in which he suggested that the House was more likely to flip in November than the Senate because candidate quality played a larger role in Senate races. 

Scott, in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, defended Republican candidates but appeared to take aim at Senate GOP leadership when he wrote: “If you want to talk about the need to raise more money to promote our candidates versus the Democrats’ terrible candidates, I agree. If you want to trash-talk our candidates to help the Democrats, pipe down. That’s not what leaders do.”

But Scott later insisted he was not referring to McConnell when he made the comments. 

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