GOP majority in Senate looks unlikely

September 27, 2010


As the 2010 campaign began to unfold, Sen. John Cornyn explained why he was wooing some moderates in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“We have to find those candidates who fit their states who can win as Republicans there,” he said in May 2009. “I need to constantly remind some of my very conservative friends who want to sort of purify the party and, in so doing, cast us in a permanent minority status that Ronald Reagan said the person who votes with me 80 percent of the time is my friend and ally, not a 20 percent traitor.” That philosophy has gotten the Texas senator into trouble with some GOP conservatives. Seven candidates openly backed, helped or otherwise favored by his panel have lost nominations to insurgents backed by tea party activists.

But as a campaign strategist charged with electing as many Republicans as possible, Cornyn was essentially correct. And he’s not backing down, despite criticism in Washington and in Texas, where some tea party groups have picketed him despite his solidly conservative voting record.

“My job boils down to basic arithmetic,” he said in an interview. “My goal is to add as many Republicans as possible. I looked for the most conservative candidate who can win in a state.”

A number of insurgents probably will win in November, because their states are solidly Republican or because a GOP “wave” may help most party candidates. But the election also is likely to validate Cornyn’s efforts. Indeed, had all NRSC-backed candidates won GOP nominations, the party would have stood a better chance at a Senate majority, a result Cornyn now says is possible but unlikely.

In Nevada, Sharron Angle’s upset victory over Sue Lowden turned the race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from a likely GOP win to a toss-up. In Delaware, party-supported Rep. Michael Castle rated as an almost-certain winner. But though Cornyn called it “entirely possible” that Christine O’Donnell, who beat Castle, could win, he conceded “what happened in Delaware makes it harder” for the GOP.

Cornyn also drew conservative heat for backing moderate Rep. Mark Kirk for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois. But Kirk, in a close race with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, was probably the only Republican who could win there.

Elsewhere, the situation looks relatively uncomplicated.

In Missouri and Ohio, where Republicans are retiring, NRSC-endorsed Rep. Roy Blunt and former Rep. Rob Portman are ahead. In Colorado and Kentucky, insurgents Ken Buck and Rand Paul lead, though more narrowly, after beating establishment candidates.

And in Republican Utah, one of two states where NRSC-backed incumbents lost nominations, Mike Lee is far ahead after unseating Sen. Bob Bennett.

In Alaska, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski would have been a general election slam dunk, and tea party-backed Joe Miller became a strong favorite after beating her. But Cornyn conceded Murkowski’s decision to run as a write-in candidate “only helps to divide the Republican vote.” That could give Democrat Scott McAdams a chance.

Finally, there is Florida, where the NRSC goofed in prematurely endorsing moderate Gov. Charlie Crist. Conservative challenger Marco Rubio gained such strength that the panel backed away from Crist. When he decided to run as an independent, it endorsed Rubio.

Rubio now seems likely to win, but Crist probably would have won a two-candidate race against Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

In the end, the 2010 election almost certainly will be a success for Cornyn, with GOP gains far beyond what looked likely when he took over. If he’d had his way, Republicans might have done even better.

— Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

What were the factors in deciding who received bailout funds? And what happened to all that money? The answer to those two simple questions is: we don’t know.

JAMES STEELE: Well, Amy, it was very difficult in the beginning, because even within Treasury, Treasury had no internal controls at the beginning of this whole process. They basically were just throwing the money out. And the whole process about deciding who got it and so forth was one of the most complex, murky processes we have ever encountered.

The beginning banks, the first nine, the big banks, they all got their money one day after a meeting with Henry Paulson, in which he told them, “You’re taking this money.” But after that, the process was much more convoluted. And some banks lobbied for the money. Others banks didn’t lobby for the money but were told they were taking it. It all—what we basically concluded early on, that there was really no plan to this at all. While Treasury said that the purpose was to get credit flowing back into the system, the fact of the matter is, the way they went about this made no sense at all.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, what about that big meeting that you talk about—I think it was October 12th—the nine big banks? Eight of those banks, as you reported, ended up getting two-thirds of all of the money, 67 percent. How did that meeting come about, and who was there?

JAMES STEELE: Paulson actually called that meeting. He called the heads of those banks the night before and said, “I want you here tomorrow in Washington.” He was very vague as to what the purpose of the meeting was. But once they got there, he told them, “You are taking money. We are going to buy stock in your banks. And we need to get this economy going again.” Some bankers objected, saying by accepting this money it would look like they were weak. Others simply said they didn’t need it.

The fact of the matter is, one of the things we concluded very early on in this whole process is that while Treasury was trying to create the image that there was widespread weakness in these banks—and then there was a credit freeze, there’s no doubt about that—the way they went about this, just throwing the money out there in hopes that that would get the economy going, is not really what this was all about. There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America, Citigroup, those three were clearly in very weakened form. So, many of the other big banks were not. And the best example that they didn’t need this money in the beginning was that many of them, within just a very few months, paid everything back.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago


Reagan,Bush and Bush raised taxes.

No matter if THEY call themselves republicans,neo conservatives,Tea Party people,moral majority,American Taliban or party with a contract for america this group is still no more than the new bogus republican party since 1980 and have never reduced taxes or size of gov't.

Republicans have been using" lower taxes and smaller government" as their campaign rhetoric for more than 30 years.

In the past 30 years this group of people has controlled the white house and congress the greater majority of the time.

This group of whoever they are has never reduced the size of government,reduced taxes OR reduced the cost of government. In essence they are full of crap.

This party initiated more military activity than any party in USA history. How can taxes be reduced if war against oil rich nations is part of the republican platform?

How can taxes be reduced by establishing more than 50 USA military bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan?

How can taxes be reduced if more than 300,000 soldiers come home disabled from the wars for oil ?

How can taxes be reduced by creating private armies such Blackwater/Z at $1000 per day per body/mercenary/terrorists?

How can taxes be reduced if 62 cents of every federal tax dollar goes to the USA war machine?


75x55 3 years, 6 months ago

"GOP majority in Senate looks unlikely"

What? Did they learn something by starting the heightened wiretapping earlier than planned?


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

We have seen this same political scenario play out before.

Modern man moved on and the Neanderthals went extinct.

Someday this area will be a hot bed for archeologists looking for remnants and maybe they will find Brownback's bones. They might be worth something in a couple of million years.


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 6 months ago

Beatrice says; "Tom, Obama wasn't anointed, he was elected. Why do you have American voters? Are you even an American yourself? "

OK, I'll split down the middle with ya' -----from now on I'll try to say "The Appointed One" (appointed is a synonym of elected). I said, I'll try to say it.

I'm a Scottish-German-American, so no derogatory remarks about Scots or Germans please.


Kirk Larson 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, republicans taking control of congress might not be such a bad thing: it would ensure that President Obama is re-elected in 2012.


beatrice 3 years, 6 months ago

I honestly don't care which party is the majority. I just want to see adults in office who don't always put party before country. Not sure if that will ever happen, but it would be nice to see.


HMcMellon 3 years, 6 months ago

As a Republican who has been increasingly voting for Democratic candidates, I am sickened by those who claim they are purifying the Party by making it more "conservative."

It used to be that "conservative" meant believing in less government, fiscal responsibility, privacy, supporting American companies, limiting the military to protecting our own country (not others), keeping religion out of politics and keeping the government out of our private lives.

Nowadays, "conservative" means borrowing as much money as possible from our former enemies, allowing other countries to siphon off America's wealth and jobs, giving tax breaks and subsidies to companies that destroy business on Main Street, expanding the role of government to include using our military to protect the interests of Israel, Europe and Middle Eastern Kings, expanding the role of government to dictate personal behavior, and forcing a narrow view of Christianity down the throats of everyone regardless of their own personal faith. No Republican has stood for these pseudo-conservative ideas more than Senator Sam Brownback. No wonder, so many Kansas Republicans are voting for Holland and other Democratic candidates this election.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

For the 53% federal tax payers, that take care of the 47% that don't pay diddly, have a look at what your increase will be with the Democrats plan.


TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

If the congress does nothing for the next 2 years, if CommunistCare is unfunded by the congress, and if Obama's Czars are castrated then America will be stronger.

DADT will remain, the military will have an ally against a CinC that hates them, and ACORN will have to take a hike.

Republicans only need the House. It would be nice to gain the senate to halt the destruction of our judicial system. Halt the appointment of activists and useful idiots to judgeships.

Open an investigation against the DOJ, independent counsel. Open a second investigation against the Czars to see if they directed any activities.

I love you all, Lalalalalala


BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 6 months ago

On the other hand, if Republicans do manage to capture both the Senate and the House, a lame duck Congress will be dangerous to the economic future of this country.


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 6 months ago

I still would just as soon see Dems maintain full control until the next election cycle. I'd very much enjoy the spectacle of Obama still blaming Bush/Republicans four years after he was anointed and six years after Dems captured the house and senate. And again, what's the difference, there will be a dramatic swing and after the mid-terms come and go, Dems are going to be doing much, much more due diligence before they rubber stamp Obama's socialist plans. He's a lame duck no matter what. And considering that fact, it will make blaming Repubs even more ridiculous.



Determined 3 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to see the different parties have control of the house, senate and white house. I don't think it's helpful to have one party in charge of all three places. It didn't work under Bush. It's not working under Obama. Clinton and Gingrich were forced to work together and ended up doing some good things together.

The system works best when one group is not in charge.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

"Governance is hard..." Dear Leader's discovered that already.


Paul R Getto 3 years, 6 months ago

Be careful what you wish for; 'it' may get elected. Governance is hard; assaults on one's opponents character are easy. We are in some deep doodoo because the people are attracted to shiny things.


uncleandyt 3 years, 6 months ago

The GOP is comfortable ruling from the minority. Even if they lose, they will continue to win. You are being tested. Look away


Commenting has been disabled for this item.