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McConnell says close Senate midterm races like 'a knife fight in an alley'

The Senate majority leader listed nine contests that he described as "dead-even."
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By Frank Thorp V and Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that the Senate races in this year’s midterm elections are going to be “very challenging,” comparing each one to “a knife fight in an alley.”

Speaking to reporters at the Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky, McConnell was asked if Republicans will hold onto the majority in Congress.

“We know this is going to be a very challenging election,” he said.

McConnell said Senate races were “dead-even” in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida.

“All of them too close to call and every one of them is like a knife fight in an alley," he said. "It's just a brawl in every one of those places."

Two years ago in September, McConnell said close Senate races at that point were “sort of like a knife fight in a phone booth.” Republicans that year held on to their narrow Senate majority.

McConnell also acknowledged Tuesday that the Texas Senate race between incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke has been tightening in recent polls.

“I think Ted's got a competitive race, by all indications. We certainly expect to win in Texas, but I think he does have a competitive race,” he said.

Democrats in the Senate, however, have an uphill climb as 24 incumbents and the two independents who caucus with them are fighting to hold onto their seats, whereas only nine Republican seats are up for grabs, three open and six incumbents seeking re-election.

The Senate is scheduled to return to Washington Wednesday after a short break this week for Rosh Hashanah.

While speaking to reporters, McConnell confirmed that the full Senate will vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh during the last week of September, ahead of the beginning of the high court’s next term in October. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a vote on his nomination on Thursday, but Democrats are expected to delay the vote until next week, which is allowed under committee rules.

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