Former White House adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the GOP’s messaging and funding decisions for the party’s lackluster midterm performance.
During an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Miller told anchor Maria Bartiromo that McConnell made a mistake by not spending more on Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters’s campaign, and instead funding longtime Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ariz.) in her race against a Trump-backed Republican.
Incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D) raised north of $75 million as of the end of September, spending much of it on negative ads attacking Masters, who had raised about $10 million heading into October.
“And if you wanted to find one state where that extra $6 to $9 million would have been the difference-maker, that’s it, Arizona,” Miller told Bartiromo. “The disparity at the top of the ticket was crushing for our candidates.”
Miller, who served under the Trump administration, said the GOP failed to effectively target independent voters around issues like crime, while Democrats hammered home their abortion rights message throughout the campaign.
Many in the GOP have blamed former President Trump for the disappointing election, particularly in the race for the Senate, in which Trump-backed candidates lost in the key swing states Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s (D-Nev.) win, declared Saturday night, gave Democrats the 50 Senate seats they need to keep control of the chamber, regardless of the outcome in Georgia, where Trump-backed Herschel Walker is headed for a runoff with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D).
Miller’s remarks echo those of Trump himself.
“It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Sunday.
Masters also attacked McConnell on Friday for the lack of funding for his campaign.
“And so my message to the people of America, my message to actually my, the Republican senators, hopefully my future colleagues, let’s not vote Mitch McConnell into leadership. He doesn’t deserve to be majority leader or minority leader,” Masters told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in an interview.
Heading into November, McConnell predicted a tight race for the Senate, warning that “candidate quality” would be a deciding factor — comments widely seen as a swipe at Trump, who recruited many of the key GOP candidates.