Senate GOP confident about gaining seats

Senate Republicans on Monday said they could pick up at least six seats in this fall's elections, and compete in seven more.

In a memo, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) predicted that all Republican incumbent senators would win reelection, and that GOP candidates would likely hold onto open seats previously held by Republicans.

"Every Republican incumbent running for reelection will win, as there is not a single state in which an incumbent Republican nominee is facing a substantial threat," NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer said in a memo. "We also strongly expect to hold every Republican open seat."

In the field of 13 competitive races where Republicans could win a seat, Jesmer used the word "win" in connection to six, with more careful language toward the other races.

"We assume their ability to predict outcomes in the general election will be as accurate as it was in the primaries," said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Democrats pointed to polls in Delaware, California, Kentucky, Missouri, Washington, and Pennsylvania as evidence that their candidates are becoming more competitive -- if not running ahead -- of GOP candidates.

Jesmer predicted outright victory for Gov. John HoevenJohn HoevenThis week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline Week ahead: Senate looks to wrap up energy, water spending bill Overnight Energy: Senate blocks GOP bill targeting water rule MORE in North Dakota, former Sen. Dan CoatsDan CoatsGOP blasts Obama for slow economic growth GOP Senate candidate failed to report private plane trip from Ind. supporter Overnight Finance: Fed steady on rates; Dems rally behind retirement rule MORE in Indiana and Rep. John BoozmanJohn BoozmanBringing US rice back to Cuba Senate passes energy reform bill Capitol Hill’s forest champions helped secure win for wood MORE in Arkansas -- all three Republican pickup opportunities.

The NRSC official also predicted Rep. Mark KirkMark KirkGOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees Durbin: McConnell should move criminal justice bill next month Three more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee MORE and Pat Toomey "will in" in Illinios and Pennsylvania (respectively), and that Ken Buck is "poised to win" in Colorado.

In other races, Jesmer was more muted in his confidence. He wrote that the NRSC would provide Republican Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSenators urge White House to speed cyber policy updates Mellman: Fissures and factions Encryption commission bill picks up more backers MORE with "whatever help he needs to maintain his lead" over Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.


Jesmer wouldn't make any predictions about the fate of Republican candidates John Raese in West Virginia, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Linda McMahon in Connecticut, Carly Fiorina in California, Dino Rossi in Washington state, or Christine O'Donnell in Delaware.

If Republicans were to pick up six seats in this election, it would likely be interpreted as a healthy victory for the party, but might also be seen as disappointing given prospects for even greater gains. It would be well short of the 10 seats Republicans need to gain in the Senate in order to win back a majority in the upper chamber -- assuming they hold onto all the seats currently held be Republicans.

Jesmer said that cash advantages for GOP party committees and candidates, combined with a political environment that favors Republicans, would enable victories for the party come Nov. 2.

"Given the hard facts, the onus is on Democrats to explain why – and how – their candidates can win with just 29 days until the election," he wrote.

Updated 1:07 p.m.

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