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. carl.p.leubsdorf@gmail.com


uncleandyt 6 years ago

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

Paul R Getto 6 years 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.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

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

Determined 6 years 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.

Practicality 6 years ago

"Clinton and Gingrich did some good things"

You mean like cheat on their wives?

notajayhawk 6 years ago

They did that together? Now there's a picture we don't want forming in our heads ...

Determined 6 years ago

The budget was balanced. That wasn't easy. They were beginning to work on Social Security when the Lewinski scandal broke.

Not perfect men, but then is anyone?

notajayhawk 6 years ago

The budget wasn't balanced. And they were already 'working' on Social Security - that's where the money came from to 'balance' the budget. Only the public debt went down, overall the national debt increased during the Clinton years, too.

Viking2 6 years ago

Not having one parry in charge of all three branches would continue to be good for Kansas, also. While Sam might be a stronger candidate for governor, Tom's election would require the parties to work together as you so aptly pointed out above.

Viking2 6 years ago

Not having one parry in charge of all three branches would continue to be good for Kansas, also. While Sam might be a stronger candidate for governor, Tom's election would require the parties to work together as you so aptly pointed out above.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

"Had the dems done this, we would be saying the eulogy for the republican party (and most especially the teabaggers) and burying it."

Maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but most people still blame Bush for our current circumstances, and they still want to dump the Democrats. Which party is on life support, again?

notajayhawk 6 years ago

"I do see, according to current events, that the pubs are promising to return to the same old revolving door formula that buried this country."

And yet people are going to vote for them instead of your guys.

Must s___ to be you.

beatrice 6 years ago

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

beatrice 6 years ago

Why do you "hate" American voters, that is.

Pete Kennamore 6 years ago

Beatrice, the sad truth is that, republican, democrat or other, the average American voter is a complete moron

Jeff Cuttell 6 years ago

The problem is... sometimes the GOP has a good idea and the Dems (being free thinkers) agree with them and go against party lines. As opposed to the GOP blindly voting along party and against ANYTHING the Dems offer. No matter how logical and how much of a good idea it is. That is why Dems having control of both houses doesn't make a difference.

The Dems vote for what is best. The GOP votes AGAINST anything that isn't branded into their skulls.

beatrice 6 years ago

Nope. Just found him. It isn't you after all, which became pretty apparent based on the fact that you actually are capable of putting forth a real argument. It can be as looney on the right as invictus, but it is usually a real argument. Doesn't mean I don't think you haven't been around before, just means I was incorrect on the logon name. Kneejerk_reaction, perhaps?

HMcMellon 6 years 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.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

"limiting the military to protecting our own country (not others)"

That was when, again?

Perhaps if you could obtain a map, or a globe - pretty sure Korea isn't in this country. Come to think of it, neither is Europe.

"allowing other countries to siphon off America's wealth and jobs"

That computer you're typing on made in America, was it?

"No wonder, so many Kansas Republicans are voting for Holland and other Democratic candidates this election."

No, I do wonder - I wonder what the heck you're talking about. Have you seen a poll?

According to the latest SurveyUSA poll, Brownback leads in the poll 59% to 32%. He leads among Republicans 83% to 11%. And before you start crowing about 11% of Republicans saying they'll vote for Holland, 18% of Democrats say they'll vote for Brownback. Brownback leads among those identifying themselves as conservative by an even larger margin - 87% to 5%. Among liberals, 17% plan to vote for Sam.

Maybe YOU aren't planning on voting Republican. Not exactly what one might call "so many Kansas Republicans", now, is it? Thanks for your past votes. Pretty sure Sam will do just fine without your vote this year.

HMcMellon 6 years ago

I don't know of any of my Republican friends who are voting for Brownback. Some say they will leave the position blank and others say the will not vote at all, but most want to give Holland a chance. None of them that I know want to vote for Brownback, who they see as a person who has betrayed not only Republicans but everyone in our State.

The only polls I've seen were done by Rasmussen. Since Rasmussen only polls those who watch Fox News, it is not an accurate poll. You will be shocked when the final vote comes in next month. Given the fact that instead of working for living, you are now desperately posting all day long here and in other places in support of Brownback, it appears you already know Brownback's chances of victory are quickly ebbing.

You are correct about one thing. People in both Parties are angry, but the reality is that as the election day approaches, they are recognizing that their anger is a result of the economic mess that was caused by Brownback and other pseudo conservatives like him.

It is time for Brownback to join the ranks of Ryun and others greedy crackpots, who we sent to Washington to represent us but who ended up representing their own selfish financial interest. I am sure that when Brownback loses, he will easily find a job working for one of the mostly-foreign, multi-national corporations that he has essentially been working for all these years. Good riddance.

HMcMellon 6 years ago

"A minority moral view?" There were many areas of disagreement I had with Sebilius, but I never heard her push her moral views on the rest of us. It seems to me Sebilius supported privacy and keeping big-brother government out of our lives. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd sure like to see it.

From what I see, only a small minority of pseudo-conservative theocrats support pushing their narrow "moral views" on the rest of us, and they want to do it through a massive increase of government intrusion into our private lives.

Some of these crackpots go so far as supporting ideas such as locking up homosexuals and giving the police the responsibility of tracking unmarried pregnant women or forcing pregnant teens to go to term in coat-hanger free detainment camps.

That kind of big-brother, big-government, anti-conservative thinking may be supported by people like Fred Phelps, Sam Brownback and Jim Ryun, but I never heard anything like that coming from Sebelius. I cannot imagine her wanting to expand the role of government into a fascist police state that has complete control of our personal lives, but Brownback has supported such ideas. His use of government to advance theocratic fascism is certainly is not a "majority moral view"...not by a long shot!

But thanks for bringing that up. I had limited my concern about Brownback to his fiscal liberalism, how he shipped our jobs to China, and how he got rich while letting the bankers on Wall Street gamble with our money and destroy our economy, but his theocratic fascism should also be of great concern to freedom loving conservative patriots in Kansas.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

"I don't know of any of my Republican friends who are voting for Brownback."

From the look of the polls, pretty sure he can do without all three of your votes.

"The only polls I've seen were done by Rasmussen."

And if you were keeping up, the poll I cited was done by SurveyUSA.


There was a Rasmussen one available; I used the SurveyUSA results because I just knew you were going to say:

"Rasmussen only polls those who watch Fox News, it is not an accurate poll."

Why do I get the feeling that any poll that doesn't mesh with your fantasy is not an accurate poll, while anything that gives the slightest credence to your rambling must be dead on?

Forget for a moment the historical accuracy of the Rasmussen polls. If you want to take a look at how absurd your contention is that they "only [poll] those who watch Fox News", take a gander at the latest presidential approval ratings. Rasmussen only has the president behind by three points. Fox has them down by ten. Oh, but wait a minute - the poll that has him farthest behind, at 12 points? CNN.

"You will be shocked when the final vote comes in next month."

I find it difficult to believe that you really think Holland has a chance - if you were that bad, you wouldn't be able to figure out how to turn on your computer. The only way it's going to be even close is if half the Republicans in the state decide it's already locked up and stay home. But even at that Brownback will be the next governor.

"Given the fact that instead of working for living, you are now desperately posting all day long here and in other places in support of Brownback, it appears you already know Brownback's chances of victory are quickly ebbing."

Ooh, a swing and a miss!

First of all, spanky, the conditions of my profession allow for rather flexible scheduling, at my own discretion. And at-will access to a computer. So sorry it's so darned tough for you, what with "working for a living" and all.

And even forgetting for a moment that you don't have the faintest idea where else I may or may not post, and you're just speaking out of your other end, I haven't said anything at all on these message boards "in support of Brownback". Now, DO I support him? Yep. And I will celebrate his victory in November, all the more so because of the endless sputtering I expect from you. All I've said in my posts is that the polls reflect that he will win the election.

You don't like the guy - yeah, we got that. You're bitter, biased, whining, most likely the 'victim' of some job or career displacement that you're looking for someone to blame. Fine. Don't vote for the guy. But don't come around spewing the garbage that you're speaking for "so many Kansas Republicans [who] are voting for Holland and other Democratic candidates this election". You're speaking for nobody but your lonesome - and doing a pretty poor job of that.

HMcMellon 6 years ago

Surveyusa had Boyda easily beating Jenkins in 2008 and that was only a month before the election. Other polls showed Boyda with as much as a 30 point lead over Jenkins early in the race. Surveyusa's poll on the current Governor's race was with 607 people in an automated telephone poll. As you obviously know, such polls are often wrong. Otherwise, you wouldn't be wasting your time here.

beatrice 6 years 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.

jafs 6 years ago


Imagine if our elected officials actually worked together civilly in order to solve problems instead.

Seems like such a simple idea.

Carol Bowen 6 years ago

Right on! Then we could tackle real issues.

Kirk Larson 6 years 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.

Carol Bowen 6 years ago

Hmmm. Sounds like a corollary to Tom's theory above.

Kirk Larson 6 years ago

No, appointed is not the same as elected, but it figures a republican would think so. Afterall, W was appointed by the Supreme Court, not elected by a majority of the people.

Kirk Larson 6 years ago

You gotta be kidding. Birtherism. Really?

Kirk Larson 6 years ago

Once I saw it was from the world net daily I knew where it was going...nowhere.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

Cappy (anonymous) replies…

"No, appointed is not the same as elected, but it figures a republican would think so. Afterall, W was appointed by the Supreme Court, not elected by a majority of the people."

First of all, a president is not elected by a majority of the people, but of the electoral votes.

Second, and one of the two major points the 'Bush stole the election' yahoos always seem to forget, is that if the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Al Gore and the votes were recounted exactly the way he asked for them to be, he still lost.

Third, another and probably more important fact the yahoos choose to ignore, the only way the votes could have gone in favor of Gore was if over-votes had been counted - i.e., ballots that had marks for more than one candidate. Yeah, that wouldn't have been stealing the election.

Get over it.

jayhawklawrence 6 years 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.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

More: http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/11/tea-partys-takeover-gop

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?

Richard Heckler 6 years 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.


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