McConnell gives Republicans '50-50' chance of winning Senate majority

Minority leader predicts 'very narrow' election


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Republicans have a “50-50” chance of taking control of the chamber in November.

Democrats now hold a 53-to-47 majority, with Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, both Independents, caucusing with Democrats.

Though McConnell, R-Ky., said the GOP has an even chance of winning the Senate, he also acknowledges the battle will be tough.

“I think it is going to be a very close, competitive election,” McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There are a number of places where we have opportunities for pickups, not many places where we have much chance of losing a seat. I think at the end of the day, we will have a very narrow Senate one way or the other.”

McConnell acknowledged that Virginia and Massachusetts are states with close races and “good candidates,” but that Republicans will still prevail.

The Virginia race features two former state governors -- Republican candidate George Allen and Democratic candidate Tim Kaine -- who are running for the open seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb.

Most polls essentially have had the race as a dead heat, even before both candidates officially entered.

In Massachusetts, incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown is in a hard-fought race with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. Polls in that race essentially have the candidates separated by 1 or 2 percentage points.

 “They are close races,” McConnell said. “We expect to win them both, but they are close races.”

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Republicans are expected to keep control of the House and agreed with McConnell's assessment about the tight Senate battle. However, he said a presidential victory for Mitt Romney in November would also result in Republicans winning the Senate.