House Republicans: Reynolds Says Majority Not at Risk
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) today said the upcoming midterm elections will be decided on local rather than national issues and promised that the GOP would retain its House majority after November.
At a briefing for reporters, Reynolds insisted that the ethical problems plaguing a handful of Republican lawmakers will have little impact on the reelection hopes of GOP congressional candidates generally, rejecting the idea that voters will latch on to the Democrats' "culture of corruption" argument. Despite the attention being paid to lobbying reform in Washington at the moment, Reynolds said the issue is "not on the American peoples' tongues."
Democrats, of course, aren't buying it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a response memo shortly after the conclusion of Reynolds's briefing arguing that the "confusing, unpopular Medicare plan, skyrocketing gas and energy prices and the war in Iraq are indeed local and personal issues. They are the very local and personal issues that have the vast majority of voters angry at their Congress, and angry at their Republican incumbents."
Expect the debate over whether 2006 will be a local versus national election to be one of the main matters of contention between the two parties for the next nine months.
During his briefing, Reynolds issued a full-throated endorsement of embattled Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who announced last night he is seeking reelection despite the possibility he may be indicted in connection with the influence-peddling schemes of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
"As long as Bob Ney is running for Congress, we are going to support him," said Reynolds, explaining that the NRCC is at its core an "incumbent retention organization." No primary challengers have emerged in Ney's district, although the filing deadline isn't until the middle of next month. Reynolds acknowledged that Ney is "going to have a tough race" but expressed confidence in the Ohio Republican's support among county chairs within the district.
As for the other embattled members of the House Republican Conference -- Texas Rep. Tom DeLay -- Reynolds was effusive in his praise and confidence in the Texan's reelection chances. "Tom DeLay is going to win his election," said Reynolds. He called a recent Houston Chronicle poll showing DeLay trailing former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) just a "snapshot" in time, not a true measure of DeLay's support in the district.
Reynolds tried to steer away from making specific predictions about how many seats his party would gain or lose come November, promising only that Republicans would retain the majority in the midterm elections. Most independent analysts see Democrats poised to make gains between 5-10 seats, a number that would leave Republicans with a narrow majority.
Much of Reynolds's future leadership aspirations are tied up in the results of November elections. If he is able to keep GOP losses to the low-to-mid single digits (or make gains), he will likely to be well-positioned to make a run for Speaker when Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) leaves the post. If Republicans suffer major losses at the ballot box, Reynolds would have a hard time convincing his colleagues that he should be their next leader.
For the moment, Reynolds is staying put at the NRCC, stating once again on Friday that he will not leave the committee for a chance to be majority leader. "I am going to remain as chairman through election day 2006," he pledged.
January 27, 2006; 2:54 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: The Friday Line: Scandals Put a Few "Safe" House Seats in Play
Next: Fear and Negative Advertising in Las Vegas
Posted by: ballhawk | February 2, 2006 11:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Odessyus | February 1, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: k. wilson | January 29, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Livingston County Independent | January 28, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dave | January 27, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Andy R | January 27, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.