Republican Scott Brown's unexpected election to the Senate from Massachusetts, coming on the heels of insurgent GOP wins in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, is prompting potential Republican House and Senate candidates to consider their own long-shot bids.
House GOP aides say that after Tuesday's election, some five potential candidates have indicated that they are now likely to enter House races. And Senate aides say that potential candidates who have hesitated about running are now looking to get in, too.
Most are local officials, businessmen, or businesswomen, but there are indications that some sitting House members, like Indiana's Mike Pence, are considering a Senate or gubernatorial bid in several states.
The new wave of recruits and polling that indicates independent voters are shifting to the Republicans has House leaders talking about a potential takeover in the fall. "Can we win the majority? Yes, we can," says House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, a member of the Republican Steering Committee, added that the Massachusetts election, coupled with huge national issues like the debt and healthcare, is turning the midterm election from a local one to a national one. "I think this is a national campaign," says McCarthy. "This is going to be a wave."
Nobody is officially predicting victory, or the 41-seat pickup that would be required to make House Minority Leader John Boehner speaker. But outside Republican groups are predicting a pickup of more than 50 seats if the economy continues to see-saw and unemployment sticks near 10 percent.