Published December 20, 2015
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.
“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”
Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.
Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters -- including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.
Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry -- a key part of the state's economy.
“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.
She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.
Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.
Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.
“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”
“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.
Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.
Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.