WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, Okla., Monday defended his chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee after losses in the Nov. 4 election.
Cole is being challenged for the chairmanship by Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, The Hill reported Monday. In a letter asking colleagues to return him as chairman, Cole said the committee has lost fewer seats than some experts predicted under his leadership and is on better financial footing than it was 2 years ago.
"Win or lose the chairman's race, at the end of this year, we will have an NRCC that is stronger and more capable of victory in 2010 than the committee I inherited two years ago," Cole said. "Even as I write this letter, we are assisting GOP candidates in post-election recounts and runoffs and fighting an election in (Louisiana's 4th district). That is a far cry from the state of affairs in November and December 2006 when the NRCC was broken."
Cole explained Republican losses in House races by noting that the 2008 political environment was the "worst any of us has ever experienced." He said 30 Republican retirements made things worse for House Republicans on Election Day.