House Republicans are confident that they will be able to win back the chamber in November, but they concede that they may have been measuring the drapes too soon.
Republicans acknowledged that the loss in Tuesday’s special election to fill the seat formerly held by the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., is leading them to reassess their tone. “We cannot let ourselves get ahead of ourselves,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va.
In that race, Mark Critz, a former Murtha staffer, handily defeated Republican Tim Burns by a margin of 53-44. It was the seventh special election defeat for Republicans this cycle.
Though they lost in Pennsylvania, the Republican leadership team was quick to note that the Washington establishment candidates fared far worse. “The American people are tired of the institutions in Washington, DC. Even the Democrat who prevailed in the special election in Pennsylvania ran against the agenda of this Democrat Congress,” asserted the House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence.
The GOP is hoping that anger at the Washington establishment and the burgeoning Tea Party movement will catapult them back into the majority. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted that the party still has a lot of work to do, “We can’t be at a financial disadvantage like we are now,” said Boehner, “(but) we’re going to work hard and earn the trust of the American people because that’s what’s going to get us back to the majority.”