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GOP sources say party losing hope of victory

Brian Beutler
Published: Tuesday October 17, 2006

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Republican sources in high-ranking Congressional offices are quietly acknowledging that the party has largely lost hope of retaining control of the House this November, RAW STORY has learned.

Aides currently in the employ of two different House committee chairmen have expressed to RAW STORY that they believe their party will become the minority after next month's elections.

"I'll probably be working for the ranking member this winter," noted one staffer. "It just doesn't look like there's anything that's going to prevent it."

One sign of an impending shift, said another, is that staff members for Democratic congressmen have assumed an unusually confident posture. "[Democratic staffers] don't even joke about it with us anymore. They just know."

One pointed to rumors on the Hill that there is the possibility of a Democratic October surprise. "[Former Congressman Mark] Foley wasn't their surprise. That just kinda happened, but people are saying they do have one of their own."

The Foley scandal has been the dominant political story—and perhaps the prime mover—this election season, fueling conflict within the Republican party, evoking strong criticism from Democrats, and even prompting some right-wing critics to lay the blame at the feet of liberal bogeymen. But that tactic doesn't seem to have resonated in opinion polls.

Earlier in the month, conservative websites began posting stories pointing to an assurance from Karl Rove that a Republican October surprise would rescue their party, but so far none has manifested. One Republican staffer even doubted whether any political maneuver by Rove would be enough to allow the GOP to retain the House, saying "I'm not even sure that'd work at this point."

October has always been a kinetic month in the election cycle, for observers and participants alike. But this October—marked by Republicans playing to their perceived advantage on national security and, perhaps more notably, by the page scandal and its extraordinary momentum—finds even veteran analysts exhausted by the twists and hesitant to make predictions. The election has at times even overwhelmed news coverage of important but unrelated events, including the war in Iraq and the apparent detonation of a nuclear weapon by North Korea.

Democrats, however, are playing down the perceived advantage. One veteran Democratic aide, responding to the Republican comments and encouraging polling, said, "When I see Republicans looking for jobs, then I'll start believing the polls."