Dark days for Senate Leader McConnell as losses cast doubt

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans are reckoning with an insurgent’s win in Alabama that poses clear threats to their own grip on power and the leadership of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Nearly $10 million spent by a McConnell-backed super PAC couldn’t save incumbent GOP Sen. Luther Strange, who had been endorsed by President Donald Trump as well. Strange’s defeat came the same day that McConnell, short of votes, pulled the plug on the latest and possibly final GOP effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare.”

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Coming together, the events have raised questions about McConnell’s leadership within the Senate and without, casting doubt on his reputations as both a seasoned political operator and a nearly unbeatable vote-counter on Capitol Hill.