Wednesday, July 19, 2006

GOP Leader Sees 36 Close Races

Tom Reynolds has a tough job. Apart from the obvious stuff the NRCC Chair does - raising money, finding candidates, etc., etc. - he has to walk a fine line as a spokesperson. He has to project confidence that Republicans will retain control. He has to convince people that the election will be close enough that people need to donate. And he has to sound in touch with reality. That's a fine line to walk.

"This shapes up to be a really close election year, and you better donate all you can spare - and then some - to make sure that Nancy Pelosi isn't Speaker this time next year, working with lunatic Left committee chairmen to ram a liberal agenda down our throats. But that said, I know that we have the support we need for me to be able to say that that definitely is not going to happen."

Reynolds - who's commonly regarded as a Speaker-of-the-House-to-be - is very good at his job. Witness this:

Reynolds predicts 36 tight races
By Aaron Blake

Beyond President Bush’s low approval ratings and the GOP’s double-digit deficit in generic polling, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) estimates there will be about the same number of competitive seats this year as there were in each of the past two elections and that Republicans will retain their majority.

In 2002 and 2004, Republicans broke with history by increasing their majority in back-to-back elections. Reynolds does not say the GOP will gain seats in this November, conceding that he will “have a few sleepless nights,” but he says he expects the party to add to its six consecutive terms in power.

“Will it be pretty? No,” Reynolds said in an interview with The Hill last week. “Will we finish it up with another record, holding the House when so many said it couldn’t be done? I believe so...”

...Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman Bill Burton said Democrats have the number of competitive House races at “more than 40.”

Of course, both sides are operating under the theory that more competitive races favors the Democrats. But that need not be the case. If things turn bad (worse) for the GOP, Reynolds will be arguing in November that there are more opportunities for the GOP. I wouldn't expect to see that, though. It would only happen in a case where people are pretty certain Democrats will win the House, and Reynolds would be forced to make a case why Republicans could hold it. Things are not likely to get that bad.

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