Rove: “I’m Confident We’re Going To Keep The Senate; I’m Confident We’re Going To Keep The House.”

Well, at least somebody seems confident about the GOP chances:

White House political strategist Karl Rove yesterday confidently predicted that the Republican Party would hold the House and the Senate in next month’s elections, dismissing fallout from the sex scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley.

At a luncheon with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, Mr. Rove — who is widely credited as the architect of the party’s historic 2002 midterm election gains — said Republicans are beginning to make significant headway in defining their party’s differences from congressional Democrats, especially on national security.

“I’m confident we’re going to keep the Senate; I’m confident we’re going to keep the House. The Foley matter has impact in some limited districts, but the research we have shows that people are differentiating between a vote for their congressman and a member from Florida,” Mr. Rove said, referring to the Republican who resigned last month after his sexually explicit online messages to former congressional pages were discovered.

President Bush has begun to paint this year’s election as a choice between strength and weakness on national security — and the stark differences will show Americans the true nature of Democrats, Mr. Rove said.

…Although Mr. Rove had previously predicted a loss of eight to 10 House seats, he said he remains confident that Republicans will not lose more than 15 — the magic number that would flip control of the chamber to Democrats.

Democrats have to pick up six seats to gain control of the Senate — virtually impossible, Mr. Rove said.

…Mr. Rove said history is on the Republican Party’s side, noting that 97.5 percent of incumbents have been re-elected since 1996. This time, he said, there are “significantly” fewer open House seats than the Democrats had in 1994, when Republicans swept to power under then-Rep. Newt Gingrich’s leadership.

…”For most Americans, particularly the marginal voters who are going to determine the outcome of the election, it started a couple weeks ago,” he said. “Between now and the election, we will spend $100 million in target House and Senate races in the next 21 days.”

Personally, I think the real key to holding the House is to pull 2-3 races that are leaning towards the Democrats out of the fire while simultaneously capturing 3-4 Democratic seats. If we can do that, then hopefully the money edge and the Get Out The Vote Effort can turn an inordinate number of toss-up races in our favor and we can hold the House. Also, it goes without saying that if the Bush Administration can use the bully pulpit to focus attention on national security in the last few weeks of the race, it would help GOP candidates across the board. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

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