According to a report from Politico's Burgess Everett, the chances of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY ) of regaining control of the Senate from Sen.Chuck Schumer (R-NY) may be slipping away as some incumbents dither over whether they want to run again in 2022.
This election cycle already features multiple Republican retirements from the Senate in the states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama and Missouri where those seats will need to be defended.
Adding to McConnell's woes are incumbents in four other states who have yet to make their 2022 intentions clear.
As Everett writes, "Although Republicans are increasingly favored to win the House next year, further retirements would undoubtedly complicate their path back to power in the Senate."
At the top of the list is controversial Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) with Politico reporting, "Johnson's decision, in a critical swing state won by President Joe Biden, is one of several inflection points that could reshape the battle for the Senate majority in 2022."
According to Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, who chairs the Democrats' campaign arm, the GOP is putting itself in a box by not getting commitments.
"I would think that they would make a decision before this time. Because it takes time to put a campaign together. It's unusual," he explained before adding, "These are big races, and they're going to be intense for everyone who is running. And delay usually puts you at a disadvantage."
Along with Johnson, the Republicans are also awaiting word from three other lawmakers including Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Iowa's Chuck Grassley and South Dakota's John Thune -- a close associate of McConnell.
"[Ron] Johnson reiterated that he's in no rush to decide as the Senate heads into a monthlong recess. And though he raised $1.2 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, he said that's no sign of his intentions: 'I didn't lift a finger to fundraise … you can't read anything into that,'" Politico reports. While Johnson's state is the most competitive, the retirement of GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley would instantly make Iowa a tighter 2022 race. And if Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) bows out of a fourth term, some strategists privately worry that her state's new election system could help Democrats compete in a reliably red area."
As for Thune -- who has been the subject of attacks from former president Donald YTrump which could complicate his re-election -- he is in no hurry to announce.
"Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), who has been targeted by former President Donald Trump and is in position to compete for eventually succeeding Mitch McConnell as GOP leader. Thune put his timeline this way: 'I'm not in any rush.' Trump has threatened to primary him and attacked the Senate infrastructure bill; Thune voted against it this week," Everett reported.
The Politico report adds, "Grassley and Johnson have already drawn challengers back home, with a crowded primary field brewing on the Democratic side in Wisconsin. Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) is running for Grassley's seat in Iowa, which has trended red in recent elections."
You can read more here.