Republicans argue they’re due for a comeback in the Northeast after years of seeing their House numbers from that area fall.
There are only two GOP House members from the densely populated region — both are from New York — but that could change after November.
“I think it’s going to be a great year for Northeast Republicans,” said Chris Cox, a businessman who’s running for the Republican nomination to face Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.).
Observers agree. Their argument: Republicans candidates running in the Northeast can no longer be tied closely to former President George W. Bush, who has receded from public view. They also argue this new generation of “Rockefeller Republicans” can tout their business-friendly policy positions, which could be more appealing during an economic downturn.
“Absolutely, I think there’s a chance for a comeback,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
“The association with the Bush administration was toxic for a lot of Northeast Republicans. Now that he’s not in the picture anymore, I think that they can come out of their burrows and bask in the sunshine a little bit,” he said. “A moderate Republican does pose a very attractive alternative to President [Barack] Obama.”