Recent wins boost GOP fortunes

Dec. 11, 2008 at 3:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional Democrats' post-election blush may have faded, boosting Republicans' belief that their party is neither down nor out, insiders say.

Earlier this month, the Democratic Senate nominee lost in a Georgia runoff, wiping out a chance for a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, and lost two winnable house races in Louisiana, Politico reported Thursday. This week, a House ethics panel said it would expand its investigation of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York.

Then there is the accusation that Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to sell U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., was forced to publicly deny any inappropriate conversations with the governor on an appointment to Senate to fill the remaining two years of Obama's term.

"I think Republicans are approaching these wins with cautious enthusiasm" following victories in Georgia and Louisiana, said Republican consultant Ron Bonjean said, adding the party hadn't completely fallen from grace and "the American people are willing to give them a chance."

Former Texas Rep. Martin Frost, who ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 1990s, said the GOP elections proved they can win in the south, "the one part of the country where the Republicans are still dominant."

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