Pence optimistic GOP can expand majorities in House, Senate

Pence optimistic GOP can expand majorities in House, Senate
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence in a new interview says he is optimistic the Republican party will not only maintain majority control of Congress but will also gain seats in both the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Elections are about choices,” Pence told Politico during a Wednesday interview.

“If we frame that choice, I think we’re going to reelect majorities in the House and the Senate and I actually think we’re going to, when all the dust settles after 2018, I think we’re going to have more Republicans in Congress in Washington, D.C., than where we started.”

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Pence indicated that as he travels across the U.S. this year he is planning to target vulnerable Democrats in states and districts that voted for President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE in 2016. He says he plans to point out how certain lawmakers failed to support their agenda.

“As we travel around the country, whether it be a political event or an official event we’re going to make sure ... the American people know that the agenda that we’re advancing is a result of partners on Capitol Hill and we’re going to thank the people that are helping us, and we’re going to make sure people know ... what the other side looks like,” he told the news outlet.

Pence reportedly lashed out at Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Joe Manchin should embrace paid leave — now MORE (D-W.Va.) during a public event in West Virginia on Wednesday for not supporting Republicans' tax-cut plan, telling the crowd “Joe voted 'no.'”

He indicated plans to go after other lawmakers, like Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D-Ind.).

“I expect we’re going to spend a fair amount of time in the states that the president carried very strongly — Indiana being one of them, West Virginia here being another, places like Montana, elsewhere around the country we think represent a real opportunity for us,” he continued.

His remarks come as the government’s No. 2 leader is planning a packed schedule, traveling from state to state to stump for Republican lawmakers running in the upcoming November elections.

Pence dismissed the historical trend of the president's party losing seats in the first midterms of their term in office, pointing to Trump’s largely unexpected win during the last year’s election.

“I know that conventional wisdom says that the first midterm election for the party in the White House is challenging, but you know what President Trump thinks of conventional wisdom,” Pence told Politico.

“I was in that campaign in 2016. I’ll never forget how many times we were treated to the latest polling that showed that the race was all but decided. But I never believed it. And I’ve got the same feeling right now,” he said.