RNC eyes Senate races in purple states

Greg Nash

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday morning he wouldn't be personally happy with the GOP's midterm results, unless it captures Senate seats in more centrist states.

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"Personally, no, I wouldn't be happy unless we win — I mean, we've got to win a purple state or two as well as taking the majority," he said on MSNBC.

Priebus was also asked whether impeachment of President Obama would be off the table if Republicans took control of the Senate. Progressive groups have used the threat of impeachment to motivate their base.

"I think it's a good Democrat talking point, but I think people are angry. Some Democrats are angry too. I just think people believe that this country's in the ditch, I think people see a Washington that isn't working ... and I think, ultimately, the person at the head of it all is the president. And some people might think that's fair or not fair, I think it is. And you have [Senate Majority Leader] Harry ReidHarry ReidHow the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill No GOP leaders attending Shimon Peres funeral Overnight Regulation: Feds finalize rule expanding sick leave MORE [D-Nev.] who's holding up over 260 bills in the Senate," he said, after laughing a bit at the question.

"I don't think I'm saying anything earth shattering. I think it's true," he added.

Priebus's comments come at a time when the GOP is trying to expand its reach.

This election is the first since a Priebus-led effort to reach out to new constituencies and modernize the GOP’s voter outreach efforts.

But attempts by the GOP to appeal to centrists have been contrasted with the continuing strength of the conservative Republican base. Several incumbent Republican senators — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellHow the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill Obama administration officials ramp up push for Pacific pact Overnight Defense: GOP leaders express concerns after 9/11 veto override | Lawmakers press for Syria 'plan B' | US touts anti-ISIS airstrikes MORE (R-Ky.) — faced Tea Party primary challengers this cycle.

Though most establishment candidates prevailed, the Tea Party has a presence at the polls on Tuesday. Joni Ernst, the party's Senate candidate in Iowa, appeared poised to win her race having run on a conservative platform. In Louisiana, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is running against Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuLouisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy Crowded field muddies polling in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.) as well as Tea Party favorite Rob Maness.