10:29 GMT30 July 2021
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    As the 2022 primary season draws near, the divide between establishment Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and pro-Trump Republicans has become more clear. Despite the divide, members of the GOP will have to unite during the 2022 midterm season if they hope to retake the House of Representatives and Senate.

    During a Monday interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, the Senate Minority Leader stated that, "if necessary," he and his GOP allies are prepared to intervene in the upcoming Republican primaries. 

    "There's no question that in order to win ... you have to appeal to the general election audience," McConnell proclaimed. 

    "I'll be keeping an eye on that," he added. "Hopefully we won't have to intervene, but if we do, we will." 

    Despite voting to acquit former US President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial back in February, McConnell has maintained that he believes Trump was "practically and morally responsible" for the events that lead up to the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol. 

    McConnell's comments were immediately panned by Trump, who was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. 

    "The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," 45 said in a lengthy statement. "McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse." 

    More recently, Trump has thrown his support behind candidates outside of the GOP establishment, such as Rep. Ted Burr (R-NC).

    Trump's endorsement of this US Senate candidate from North Carolina presents the risk of furthering the GOP divide, according to David Bergstein, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

    "In North Carolina — and across the Senate map — Trump is escalating GOP primaries and making the Republican infighting even worse," Bergstein told Axios

    Former NC Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, and former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) are also vying for the US Senate seat in North Carolina. 

    Amid the growing divide, other groups have pledged to step in, such as the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) - a super political action committee (PAC) aligned with McConnell and other establishment Republicans. 

    "As has long been SLF’s policy, we reserve the right to intervene in cases where a candidate is a clear threat to lose a seat in a general election and to protect our Republican incumbents," Jack Pandol, communications director for the super PAC, said to Axios. 

    Overall, Republicans are seeking to regain a majority in the US Senate, which would also allow McConnell to potentially reassume his position as Majority Leader. Republicans are looking to unseat Democrats in a number of states, such as New Hampshire, Georgia and Arizona.

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    Tags:
    US Midterm Elections, Donald Trump, GOP Primary, Republicans, GOP, Mitch McConnell
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