Republicans fear being 'steamrolled' in election as COVID-19 limits their ability to campaign: report
Sen. Mitch McConnell -- MSNBC screengrab

According to a report in the Washington Post, Republican officials are becoming resigned to losing the Senate because COVID-19 restrictions on public appearances are crippling the campaigns of some of their most embattled candidates hoping to hang onto their jobs.

With an unpopular Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, Republican candidates are desperate to get out among voters in their states to make a personal pitch for why they should be re-elected but the coronavirus, which is also hurting their party because of the administration's bungling, is keeping them at home and frustrated.

Reporting that "Republicans are running into the head winds of President Trump’s sagging poll numbers amid his stumbling response to the coronavirus pandemic," the Post adds "the pandemic has limited campaign activities that are normal for a big Senate race, activities such as state fairs, beach walks and large church services — and without those staples, there are fewer chances for candidates to make mistakes."

With that in mind, the report notes that Republicans are fearful that "Democratic candidates are receiving such little scrutiny that they could steamroll to victory."

Hoping to get out in front of the public, some GOP candidates facing ouster are proposing multiple debates with their opponents -- something candidates with the power of incumbency usually avoid because it gives their challenger a platform.

"In Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has challenged her Democratic competitor to six debates, starting in August. In North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) pressed his Democratic opponent to accept five debates, which he wanted to start in the spring. And in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R) declared that she wants to debate her opponent 16 times, once in each of the state’s counties, starting immediately," the report states.

Republicans, Democrats contend, are being forced to adopt strategies traditionally used by candidates who are losing.

“Democrats continue to meet with and hear from voters across their states, and they didn’t need a manufactured debate over debates from desperate incumbents to do it,” Lauren Passalacqua, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee explained.

You can read more here.