By Reid Wilson - 09/08/09 01:37 PM EDT
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John CornynJohn CornynFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill MORE (Texas) will inform colleagues on Tuesday that the August recess gave Republicans a new advantage heading into the 2010 elections.
In a memo to Republican senators, Cornyn calls the summer break “nothing short of a disaster for our Democrat colleagues” that put momentum behind the GOP. After beginning the cycle with more retirements and vulnerable incumbents than Democrats had, Cornyn notes: “What a difference a couple of months makes.”
“But we do not agree that the way to solve that problem is to raise costs, destroy jobs and put government bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors,” he added. “Judging by the reaction from citizens across the country this summer, the American people agree with us.”
Cornyn will point to several specific races where Democrats have slipped while Republicans have scored recruiting successes. In the last month, Rep. Mark KirkMark KirkElizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth GOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees Durbin: McConnell should move criminal justice bill next month MORE (R) announced he would run for an open seat in Illinois; Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) made his bid official and leads both his potential Democratic challengers; and at least one prominent candidate has stepped forward against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who was previously seen as unbeatable.
Meanwhile, candidates who were already in their respective races are outperforming their Democratic foes. Rep. Roy BluntRoy BluntOvernight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika Senate Dems accuse GOP of walking away from Zika deal MORE (R) outraised Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) in Missouri; ex-Rep. Pat Toomey (R) has pulled closer to Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in Pennsylvania; and former Rep. Rob PortmanRob PortmanJohn Bolton PAC pours more cash into GOP campaigns Dem campaign arm: Poll numbers slipping for vulnerable Republicans GOP senator jokingly calls Sherrod Brown 'Mr. Vice President' MORE (R) continues to benefit from a fractured Democratic primary field in Ohio.
The party has potentially strong recruits on the hook in Colorado, where former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) is considering running; in New Hampshire, where ex-Attorney General Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteGOP women push Trump on VP pick John Bolton PAC pours more cash into GOP campaigns Dem campaign arm: Poll numbers slipping for vulnerable Republicans MORE (R) is exploring a bid; and in California, where former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R) is pondering running. Ayotte and Fiorina are all but in their races.
Though Republicans did not score an A-list recruit, Sen. Harry ReidHarry ReidSatanists balk at Cruz comparison Cory Booker is Clinton secret weapon Overnight Energy: Dems block energy spending bill for second day MORE (D-Nev.) remains unpopular in Nevada, with a recent poll showing two little-known candidates each outpacing the Senate majority leader.
And though Cornyn does not include either candidate in the memo, the NRSC continues to tout the possibility that 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 (R) will challenge Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and that Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) will run for Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIf you’re going to meet with Merrick Garland Biden on cancer research: 'I’ve been on the other end of the need' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE’s old Senate seat in Delaware.
Polls have shown both Hoeven and Dorgan with big leads in a hypothetical matchup, but the NRSC remains hopeful it can coax him into the race. Privately, the GOP feels more confident that Castle will run in Delaware, setting up a possible showdown with Attorney General Beau Biden, the vice president's son.
Still, trailing in the money race and with at least five open seats to defend, Cornyn said his party remains the underdog.
“While the overall political climate has improved markedly for Republicans since January, the election is still 14 months away, which is a lifetime in politics,” he writes in the memo. “While we have the momentum on our side right now, it is also important to recognize that 2010 remains an uphill climb for us.”