WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Republican U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts last week has expanded the election field for GOP candidates challenging Democrats, the party said.
Since Scott Brown won the race to finish out the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's term, party officials said at least six Republicans have expressed interest in challenging Democrats in House races in New York, Pennsylvania and possibly Massachusetts, The New York Times reported Monday.
"I think it was inspiring and gave voice to a lot of people," said Mike Fitzpatrick, a former Republican congressman from the Philadelphia area who said Saturday he would challenge Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, a Democrat, for his old seat.
Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark, told the Times that last week's results in Massachusetts nudged him toward challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat seen as vulnerable.
"If the people of Massachusetts are upset, you can imagine how the people of Arkansas feel," Boozman said.
Republican party officials said they're also looking for candidates with name recognition for U.S. Senate races in Wisconsin and Indiana.
Stuart Rothenberg, a political analyst who tracks congressional races, told the Times his latest report indicates 58 Democratic House seats will be in play on Election Day, up from 47 in his December analysis. The number of Republican seats up in the air remained 14.
In the Senate, Rothenberg said seven Democratic seats and four Republican seats were competitive.