Republicans increasingly worry that their baseâs contempt for Mr. McConnell is more potent than its love for Mr. Trump. Mr. McConnell could be an anchor around incumbents in the same fashion as Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, who is routinely used to undermine Democratic candidates. The loudest applause Mr. Moore received during an election-eve rally came when he declared, âMitch McConnell needs to be replaced.â
In a memo about the Alabama election that circulated among Republican donors, Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a âsuper PACâ closely allied with Mr. McConnell, said primary voters were intensely angry and inclined to blame Republicans for dysfunction in Washington.
âThe Republican Congress has replaced President Obama as the bogeyman for conservative G.O.P. primary voters,â Mr. Law wrote, cautioning that the president was helping to amplify that point of view: âThis narrative is driven by Trump himself, and it resonates with primary voters who believe the Republican Congress âisnât doing enoughâ (as we frequently heard in focus groups) to advance the presidentâs agenda.â
Mr. Law, whose group spent more than $10 million to prop up Mr. Strange, said in the memo that Republicans had been damaged by âthe Obamacare repeal fiasco,â and said they should expect to fight hard-right primary candidates in Mississippi and Nevada, among other states. Mr. Law derided Mr. Bannon for being focused mainly on âpromoting his own brand,â and discounted him as a major force in Alabama.