Senate races

DSCC director: ‘Wave’ wiped party away

Greg Nash

A wave election and a tough map toppled otherwise strong Democratic campaigns, according to the top aide of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm. 

{mosads}”This was not a turnout election in the sense that another door knock would have mattered of another half-million would have mattered. It was a wave election,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil said Thursday morning.

Republicans easily won Senate control on Tuesday — flipping at least seven seats but that could grow to nine — and building a majority that could help them in 2016 defend a difficult map. 

Cecil said the committee’s job in the final months of the election was “making sure the wave was not a tsunami that capsized races that we could win,” and argued that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Democrats’ sole bright spot on a rough night, was the best example of that.

He said that a number of races moved hard away from Democrats in the closing weeks of the election, pointing to events like Ebola and ISIS.

“There were multiple periods of time where Republicans were able to easily nationalize the election,” he said.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Collins touted the committee’s strong recruiting class. He argued those candidates were the reason the map broke open. To clear the “low bar was, could we avoid saying super alienating things that would scare folks?” he said. GOP candidates did much more than that, he added.

He also called President Obama the GOP’s “best surrogate,” arguing he did a lot of things “that weren’t helpful to Guy’s cause” in the final month of the campaign, including “bringing up Gitmo when there are two super-max [prisons] in Kansas and Colorado.”

He said even he was surprised that Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blew out Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) by the margin that he did: “The Cotton race opening up by that many points I think caught everyone off guard.” Cotton ran up a 17-point win.

One disappointment for Collins: That the “cupboard [was] bare” cash-wise when former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie started closing on Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), saying Gillespie “pitched a perfect game as a candidate.”

Their comments were made on a panel hosted by CQ-Roll Call and broadcast on C-SPAN.

Tags Jeanne Shaheen Mark Pryor Mark Warner Tom Cotton

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