Republicans did lose two seats but should have lost only one, and should have picked up one additional seat to replace the loss, if they had more competent leadership.
The lost seats were Illinois and New Hampshire. For Mark Kirk in Illinois, he was probably destined to lose either way in such a blue state, yet Wicker’s NRSC wasted funds on him anyway, and he ended up getting crushed with just 40 percent of the vote. Not a good choice and certainly a waste of resources.
For Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, she seemed not to get along with the NRSC, even making a fuss about a heroine ad that ran against her opponent. She was not a strong candidate, even as an incumbent Senator, and lost a squeaker by a little more than 1,000 votes.
But the real reason Kirk and Ayotte lost was that both were very hostile to Donald Trump and ultimately paid the political price for it in this anti-establishment, insurgent year. They misread the mood of the electorate and were sent packing.
The seat that the GOP could have been picked up was Colorado, where a strong black conservative candidate, Darryl Glenn, lost his bid by a close margin, 52 to 48 over the sitting Senator. But while Wicker wasted funds on a loser like Kirk, the NRSC did not back Glenn and seemed to cut him loose and let him fend for himself. That was a stupid and shameful move on Wicker’s part.