The tough map for Senate Republicans is likely to have a huge impact on what, if any, deals McConnell makes with President-elect Joe Biden and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). And as in this last cycle, McConnell will be looking to protect vulnerable incumbents — both by moving legislation they support and saving them from having to cast tough votes.

“McConnell is a results-oriented leader,” said Senate GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso (Wyo.). “We’re gonna want to stay in the majority in 2022, and we’re gonna need to show the country we’re a party of governing, not grandstanding.”

Some Republicans have made clear they’re not sticking around. Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have already announced their retirement plans, and the GOP doesn’t want Grassley to join them. Ditto Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who said that he is undecided and has “got to see how things play out.”