National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John CornynJohn CornynSessions can put the brakes on criminal justice “reform” This week: Congressional Republicans prepare to huddle with Trump GOP eyes new push to break up California court 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 KirkGOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal Republicans add three to Banking Committee Juan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama 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 BluntThe new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump told of unsubstantiated Russian effort to compromise him 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 PortmanHillary gives Bernie cool reception at Trump inaugural lunch GOP governors defend Medicaid expansion Senators introduce dueling miners bills 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 AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee 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 ReidFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings GOP eyes new push to break up California court The DC bubble is strangling the DNC 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 HoevenFive regulations that could come in Obama's final days ND senator calls for remaining Dakota Access protesters to leave Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (R) will challenge Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and that Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) will run for Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden boards train home to Delaware after Trump's inauguration Overnight Tech: Meet the key players for Trump on tech | Patent chief staying on | Kerry aide goes to Snapchat | Uber's M settlement Biden's farewell message: Serving as VP has been my 'greatest honor' 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.”