Republicans are celebrating the 4th Anniversary of Obamacare as they look forward to an expanding electoral map that could see them retake the Senate this November.
Though the official anniversary doesn’t happen until Sunday, Friday afternoon RNC Chariman Reince Priebus was joined by NRSC Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and NRCC Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) on a conference call to highlight Republicans strong position heading into 2014.
“I think it’s safe to say that Democrats are going to want to ignore this anniversary” Chairman Priebus offered to open the call. “Thanks to Obamacare we know that Democrats are in disarray. It’s a poisonous issue for them” he said. Then Priebus turned to a topic which came up several more times during the call. “You saw it in Florida 13 last week, Alex Sink,” he said, adding, “She tried to run from Obamacare and she lost.” The upset winner in that special election was Rep. David Jolly (R-FL).
NRSC Chairman Moran was bullish about the GOP’s chances in 2014. “When I began in January 2013 I seriously believed that we had the opportunity to gain 5, 6, maybe 7 seats,” he said. “Today,” he continued, “we have strong credible candidates in races that can be won by those candidates in 10, 11, 12, 13 states across the country.”
Moran said he believes this expanding electoral map is “in part” because of the unpopularity of Obamacare, but he sees a deeper issue. “In my view it’s a symptom beyond that that is changing the electoral map and that’s the lack of credibility,” he said. He believes wider public awareness of instances where the President misled people, such as his broken promises about keeping plans and doctors people liked, has hurt Democrats as a whole. Moran called it a “lack of credibility” saying “above all we expect our elected officials to tell us the truth.”
NRCC Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) was the last to speak. He compared Obamacare to a “prickly pear cactus” that Democrats were not going to want to embrace in 2014. Walden, who represents Oregon’s 2nd district, brought up his state’s worst-in-the-nation Obamacare exchange. “The fiscal disaster of historic proportions called Cover Oregon is something that really lights people’s hair on fire,” Walden said.
“What we learned in Florida 13 is the Democrats’ playbook that they put out to all their candidates–to embrace Obamacare, talk about fix it don’t repeal it–was a total flop. They had no more articulate spokesperson than Alex Sink when it came to making this argument…and yet, we were able to prevail.”
There were a few questions after the presentation. Toward the end Chairman Moran was asked directly about his confidence that Republicans would retake the Senate in 2014. Moran offered a caveat saying that whenever he is asked that question he replies that it depends on what Republicans do between now and November. But he went on to say “As I analyze this, Republicans across the country have a lot in their favor.”
“We certainly have an opportunity to have a majority and a number larger than a simple majority,” Moran said. This was based, he added, on the average pick up in off-year elections and the President’s current unpopularity which is “damaging to Democrats nationally.” Moran wrapped up his point saying “we take nothing for granted but clearly the opportunities exist.”
Before the call close, Chairman Priebus took one more stab at pressing the point about the expanding map. “You have this map that’s expanding all the time and then you run quickly into North Carolina and Michigan and Colorado and Greg’s state of Oregon is certainly looking interesting and Minnesota is looking interesting, Brown might run in New Hampshire, Ed Gillespie is running in Virginia” he said in quick succession, adding “Slowly but surely you end up with this map that I think gives the Democrats complete fits.” The GOP doesn’t see Obamacare as responsible for all of that but it’s a major contributing factor.