Trump brags about destroying Mitch McConnell’s plan to recruit a coveted Senate candidate
Composite image of President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photos by Gage Skidmore.

Former President Donald Trump celebrated on Thursday after Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) failed at recruiting a top contender to challenge Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in the 2022 midterm elections.

"Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona reaffirmed his decision Thursday not to run for the Senate this year, dealing a blow to Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, while delighting former President Donald J. Trump, who for months had warned Mr. Ducey to stay out of the race," The New York Times reported Thursday. "Mr. Ducey, who is term-limited as governor, was one of the most sought-after Republicans that Mr. McConnell had been trying to recruit."

This was the third time this cycle McConnell has failed at recruiting a GOP governor to run for Senate, which is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes. McConnell also failed at recruiting Govs. Chris Sununu (R-NH) and Larry Hogan (R-MD).

"Taken together, the rejections illustrate the difficulty Senate Republicans are having in trying to lure mainstream conservative governors to serve in a party still shadowed by Mr. Trump and in a polarized capital that can offer less policymaking opportunity than statehouses," the newspaper reported.

But Trump saw the development as good news.

"Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona saw the big Primary numbers in Texas, where 'Trump Endorsements' went 33 wins and 0 loses, and he said, knowing I would never endorse him, 'No thanks, I am not going to run for Senate!' Smart move, Doug—there’s no room for RINOs," Trump wrote in a statement emailed to reporters.

"MAGA will never accept RINO Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona running for the U.S. Senate—So save your time, money, and energy, Mitch!" Trump warned in February.

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That came after a January message when Trump wrote, "Rumors are that Doug Ducey, the weak RINO Governor from Arizona, is being pushed by Old Crow Mitch McConnell to run for the U.S. Senate. He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!"

Democrats are only defending 14 Senate seats in the midterms, while Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and his National Senatorial Campaign Committee are defending 21 seats.