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OH-Sen.: McConnell fuels GOP confidence that Renacci can upset Brown

Mitch McConnell believes Ohio represents a strong chance for Republicans to gain an additional Senate seat in November. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Despite Democratic efforts to start a "blue wave" in November, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees an opportunity for Republicans to gain a stronger hold on the Senate, including with a potential win by Rep. Jim Renacci over incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, The Hill reported.

McConnell added Ohio to the list of Democrat-held seats that are within GOP reach, citing an internal survey that has sparked a flame of hope among Republicans for the race.

"Within the past week a number of Republicans have been talking about it behind the scenes," a Republican strategist told The Hill. "The survey has given Republicans reason for hope. It's internal polling."

What's the story?

McConnell said the  internal survey, which reportedly has Renacci "within the margin of error" of Brown, showed him that the race will be "very competitive."

The Senate leader was also optimistic about how the party's accomplishments over the past year and a half will boost the GOP during the elections:

From his interview with The Hill:

"I'm now in my third decade in the Senate. This has been the best period, the best period right-of-center over the last 17 months, in the time that I've been here. It's been a period of extraordinary accomplishment. We think we have made a very significant difference for the country in measurable ways. Conveying that to the voters in places that we have Senate races is going to be a big part of being competitive."

Where do things stand now?

As of May 22, three major race tracking outlets still say the race leans Democratic. On average, Renacci has trailed Brown by about 13 percentage points. Still, Brown's campaign is not taking Renacci lightly.

"It's an Ohio statewide election in a midterm year, of course it's competitive," said Brown spokesman Preston Maddock to The Hill.

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