WASHINGTON — The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Thursday that the likelihood Republicans win back the Senate is better today than when he assumed leadership in 2012.
During a luncheon with reporters, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said: “Back in the very beginning, I would’ve told you we had six good candidates in six states.”
Now, Moran said, the number of races where Republicans could pick up seats from Democrats has expanded to somewhere in the range of 12 to 14 states.
Republicans need to flip six states to win back control of the Senate.
Moran credited Republicans with nominating credible candidates in primaries across the country.
“I think what we are most pleased about is the quality of candidates that we have in those states,” Moran said.
Moran listed open-seats in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota as the top three most likely pick-ups for Republicans.
“They are solidly red states, and they have good candidates, excellent candidates, and Democrat opposition is not at that caliber,” he said.
Moran also listed Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Alaska as other top target states for Republicans. Each of these states have Democratic incumbents running in red states.
“We have significant opportunities,” Moran said. “History is on our side. In a non-presidential year in the second term of a president, the party out of power in this case, the Republicans, on average win six and half seats.”
But Moran is cautious. “We have history on our side, but we’re not relying on history to allow us to achieve a majority.”
Republicans are also closely watching Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, New Hampshire, Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota.
“The political environment is in our favor,” Moran said. “Twice as many Democrats up for election as Republicans.”
While as many as 14 seats could be up for grabs for Republicans, the party also has to keep control of seats in Kentucky and Georgia, where two formidable Democrats are challenging GOP incumbents.
Asked by The Daily Caller how many seats Republicans would pick up if the election were held today, Moran declined to make a prediction.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.
According to the most up-to-date RealClearPolitics polling averages, Republicans would take back the Senate if the election were held today. GOP candidates are polling ahead of Democrats in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia.
That would lead to Republicans having 51 Senate seats, and Democrats holding 49 seats.