OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Talk about optimism.
House Republican leader John Boehner recently said the GOP could pick up 100 seats this November. Now, the Republican National Committee’s political director says the party has its eye on 130.
“Our scoring as of today has us looking at about 130 House seats as potentially competitive,” Gentry Collins said Tuesday. He hastened to add: “Just to be clear, I’m making no claim that we are going to pick up 130 House seats.”
Republicans see the potential for significant gains this November as support for President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats slide. The GOP needs to win 40 seats to reclaim control of the House. Currently, Democrats hold 254 seats and Republicans 177 with four vacancies.
Asked when the GOP will start to focus on races and cull the list to those most likely to produce Republican victories, Collins said it hasn’t yet started.
“I’ve been expecting (the list) to shrink, to be candid with you. It’s been growing,” he said.
The bravado was pervasive as Republican state party chairs gathered outside Washington. They compared the political climate to 1994 when Republicans captured control of the House and Senate in President Bill Clinton’s first midterm elections.
“We did not win control of Congress in 1994 because we put more precinct captains out on the field than the Democrats did,” said California chairman Ron Nehring. “We did not win in ’94 because of infrastructure. We won in ’94 because we had a nationalized election because a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress had vastly overreached in terms of their governing agenda. And there was a dramatic backlash.”