Republicans won't lose a single Senate seat they currently control in this fall's elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted.
McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said the GOP would hang onto control of the 18 seats it must defend this fall, which would mean wins in some highly contested races.
"Number one, we will not lose a single Republican incumbent senator in November," McConnell said Wednesday evening on CNN. "Number two, we have five Republican open seats … We will win all of those."
The GOP would have to win some very competitive races for open seats to make McConnell's confident prediction a reality come next year.
Among the Republican candidates who would have to win are: Marco Rubio in Florida, Rep. Roy Blunt in Missouri, former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, physician Rand Paul in Kentucky, former Rep. Rob Portman in Ohio and attorney Joe Miller in Alaska.
Many of those candidates are facing tough Democratic opponents in swing states, and some of them, like Rubio (and potentially Miller), may have to fend off independent candidates.
If the GOP were to hold those seats, though, it would still mean they would need to pick up 10 Democratic-held seats to regain the majority in the Senate and make McConnell the majority leader come next year. But he stopped short of making a prediction.
"I'm not predicting we're going to win all those, but we're on offense. And we will win a number of them," he said. "And we will be a more influential group in the next Congress."
The rosy electoral picture for Republicans represents a turnaround from the hole in which the party found itself in early 2009, after receiving another drubbing from Democrats in the previous fall's elections.
McConnell noted the turnaround in fortune, though, and said that he and House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who would likely become Speaker in a GOP-held House, deserve some credit for that.
"I think John Boehner and I have had a lot to do with the comeback that we may well have this November in warp-speed time," he said. "I mean, in 18 to 20 months, we have come back from all the articles being written about the demise of the Republican Party. I think some of that is attributable to good leadership."