Cornyn: GOP likely to contend for Senate majority in 2012

Republicans are likely to contend for a Senate majority in 2012, the head of their campaign efforts said Tuesday.

But Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), wouldn't predict the 10 or more GOP wins necessary on Nov. 2 to hand Republicans control of the upper chamber.

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Rather, Cornyn said this fall's elections would set the stage for the 2012 elections, in which Republicans can play offense and try to pick up enough seats to win the Senate.

"I think it's going to be a very good day. I'm not actually predicting we're going to get back to the majority this cycle, but I'm happy to pick up every seat we possibly can," Cornyn said of the 2010 efforts on the Wall Street Journal's "Campaign Journal" online webcast.

The NRSC chairman said the 2012 cycle, in which Democrats will have to defend 23 seats (including those of two independents who caucus with Democrats) and the GOP defends 10, would be the year.

"I think that's the year we're most likely to turn the corner," he said.

Republicans sought to set expectations for their performance in Senate races in a memo on Monday from NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer that outlined six states where they said they thought they could "win."

Whether or not the GOP can gain more than that, Cornyn said, would come down to resources.

"Right now the question is where do we put our resources in order to pick up another seat," he said. "And that changes, literally, on a day-to-day basis."