January 13th, 2010
02:55 PM ET
4 years ago

GOP sees a path to midterm victory

Washington (CNN)-- Less than 50 gets you 40. That's a rule of electoral math according to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who is carefully tracking President Obama's approval rating 10 months before the midterm elections.

McCarthy believes that if Obama's approval rating dips below 50, then the GOP has a solid shot of picking up 40 Democratic-held seats – enough to wrest the House majority out of the party's hands. That majority would give Republicans a greater voice in shaping legislation, and the power to try and rework the health care bill as they see fit.

Currently, Democrats hold 256 seats in the House, while Republicans claim 178. There is one vacancy.

McCarthy is not the only Republican talking takeover. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, is also bullish on the GOP's prospects of a return to power – a notion that seemed remote this time last year.


But now, Cantor and McCarthy see a chance to re-take the Hill, counting on a nation fed up with one-party rule in Washington. The two congressmen laid out a hopeful scenario Tuesday evening, describing the GOP's path to victory to a small group of reporters. Cantor acknowledged it would be an uphill climb, but not an impossible one: "We believe we can take back this majority."

Still, the two Republican leaders acknowledged the stars must align for the GOP. Overwhelming voter angst with Washington must continue. The GOP will have to argue effectively against Obama's agenda while promoting their own policy solutions. And Republicans need to raise a flood of money to try and compete with Obama's fundraising prowess.

Expect Republicans to talk about cap-and-trade, the stimulus bill and, of course, health care in the coming months. Cantor said House Republicans will create a "21st Century Agenda for the Republican Party" somewhat similar to the "Contract with America" to help promote their agenda.

McCarthy, who is recruiting GOP candidates, said that they will have about 100 solid challengers for the 2010 election cycle, emphasizing that a quarter of them will be minority.

Still, for all the talk of seizing the speaker's gavel, the GOP has some internal housekeeping it must tend to. While Cantor sought to downplay any rifts, there is real anger from congressional Republicans with how Michael Steele is running the Republican National Committee. Some conservative activists are frustrated with the national leadership, and are expressing it publicly.

And there's another bit of campaign math that may stand between Republicans and their goal of a new majority: Congressional Democrats have a dismal 36 percent approval rating, according to a December Pew Research Center poll – but the GOP's, at 29 percent, is even worse.

Follow Mark Preston on Twitter @prestoncnn


Filed under: GOP
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Brian from NJ

    I hope the GOP wins... the best times we had in this country was when a Democrat was in the WH and the GOP ran Congress... that whole "checks and balances" thing the Founding Fathers dreamed up real did work!

    January 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    While hundreds of thousands die in Haiti, the Left wingers only concern is how to keep power in 2010. Truly disgusting.

    January 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Jay

    "Cantor and McCarthy see a chance to re-take the Hill, counting on a nation fed up with one-party rule in Washington."

    This is really funny. One party can barely get anything done. How can we possibly expect that two parties will get things done any better? If we go back to a two party rule, it will be the biggest waste of tax payer money. We'll be paying them to sit in Washington and debate things with no end in sight.

    January 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Ralph

    This line says it all:

    "Congressional Democrats have a dismal 36 percent approval rating, according to a December Pew Research Center poll – but the GOP's, at 29 percent, is even worse."

    Keep dreaming GOP. If the Dems are in the toilet, then the GOP is in the sewer.

    January 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Jeff from Chicago

    Looking forward to bringing back some sanity to government. Not saying government will be sane, but current group is totally out of it intellectually and menatally.

    I think people are beginning to realize that GWB had 6 decent years and 2 bad. And they are also beginning to realize that the 2 bad were when the democrats took over congress. And they are also beginning to realize that pelosi and reid are completely incompetant.

    As negative as I am about obama and his policies, it sure looks like the worse partisan politics I have ever seen are a result of mainly pelosi and reid. obama may be totally unqualified but at least he appears to be trying to be bipartisan.

    and as bad as I feel obama is doing, I would love to see jobs come back and things get better, I just do not think his way is the right way to do it.

    January 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    I see some people quoting 17% approval for the GOP or only 21% are conservative/GOP. Once again the liberals are forgetting about the independents! Please keep on forgetting the power of the independents, liberals! It wil be at your poltical peril!

    January 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Repugnant of Republicans

    A couple of guys within the Republican party can expect to make gains? What do these have to lose by making such claims. Nothing! Which is why they make such claims. The Republicans are NOT going to help the average American on health, corporate issues, and so forth. Republicans are gauging just how unhappy Americans are with Obama. Americans are unhappy with Obama BUT not to the point of enlisting the help of Republicans who will NOT aid in the average Americans discomfort. Why take a chance to vote for someone who will NOT help the average guy. I do not believe that the average American is going to take the same chance that the National Organization of Women took against President Carter who broke ranks and voted for Ronald Reagan who totally abandoned NOW on the matter of passing the ERA amendment. The biggest con that man ever faced concerned the death of the devil when the devil simply morphed into the Republican party!

    January 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Stortz

    Where are the State Democrat Parties in places like California, Oklahoma, and Virginia? Are they even trying to look for successful candidates? They just keep sending these same old tired Christian Crusaders back to Washington year after year after year! These Bible thumping thugs say just enough to make you think they are one of you. Mean while they are in back rooms on C-street making deals to save their buddies, as they are, in their own words, “The New Chosen Ones”. They are part of nothing less than a Cult for Rich Guys! They choose to hold a “Holy War” right here in America, extinguishing all freedoms, and choice of religion or to not believe. They do this is the name of YOUR God, and their blood will not be wiped from YOUR hands!

    January 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. GPC

    Mid term losses by Democrats are assured, but the country is nauseated with GOP hypocrasy and bleeding our treasury for big business profits. Democrats lose 20 in house and 4 in senate this fall.

    January 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    Kevin in Ohio – US Depts. of Agriculture and Energy, Municipal Water Dept., NOAA, NASA, EPA, FCC, DOT, Public Schools, Department of Labor, FDA, USPS, OSHA, and the list goes on and on. OMG, one's head could explode with all this socialist activity. What do you propose we do with all the people who would be unemployed if we end this poisonous socialism nonsense? Good grief.

    January 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Doyle Wiley, MI

    If the GOP gets the majority it will guarantee there will be no Health Care bill passed. People "if you don’t learn from history your doomed to repeat it."

    January 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    I've been a techer for many years. I've noticed that sometimes you can get good behavior by rewarding it, sometimes you can stop bad behavior by punishing it but if you are ever stupid enough to reward bad behavior you will always certainly get more bad behavior.

    I say this because the idiots blocking the President's and the countries agenda want you the voters to reward them if you do we will see more of their antics and to make matters worse if they fool enogh of you they will have the majority again. Don't let it happen.

    January 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Adalbert

    It is not very smart to think that the GOP will do better for the average American. Just think of the resent past.

    January 13, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Vijay

    Conservative elements and far right liberals within the Democratic party are already doing a good job of distorting the legislative program laid out President Obama. Should the midterm elections in fact result in substantial gains by the GOP, we will end of with a 'hung parliament'. What a sad situation that will be, precisely at a time, when so much needs to be done for the people of this country.

    January 13, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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