Boehner ‘feeling better’ about Republicans keeping the House

Rachel Rose Hartman

Back in April, Speaker John Boehner said there was a 1 in 3 chance Republicans would lose their majority in the House. On Thursday, the Ohio Republican changed his tune.

"I'm feeling better," Boehner said at a press briefing at the Capitol Thursday. "Listen, our team's in pretty good shape. Our members have worked hard. Frankly our candidates, the challengers out there, a lot of them have been through tough primaries, and I feel good about where we are as a team. We've got a lot of work to do between now and November, but our team's doing well."

Boehner did not offer new numerical odds.

Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to win a House majority. But that task is so large that Democrats have been loath to champion it as a realistic goal.

On a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) call with reporters Thursday, executive director Robby Mook went as far as to say his party is "going to pick up seats and reverse the tea party wave." He noted that there are 66 House Republicans running in districts won by President Barack Obama in 2008.

There was no mention of overtaking the House on the call, which was focused on championing the strength of House Democratic incumbents.

Mook used Thursday's call to attack Republicans, saying that the idea that the opposing party can pick up Democratic-held House seats this year is merely a "pipe dream," in part because of poor Republican recruitment efforts.

"Their recruitment has been such a failure that their candidates are either duds or have too much baggage to really pick up and go anywhere," he said. Mook argued that Democratic House incumbents overall hold an advantage after being battle-tested in the 2010 Republican wave election; they're already leading in early polls and they have been out-fundraising Republican challengers.

Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the DCCC's Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), responded to the charge of failed GOP recruiting efforts via a statement to Yahoo News:

We're glad the DCCC is recognizing that we're on offense against House Democrats and intend to beat many of them the same way we did in 2010. If they truly question the credibility of any of our Republican challengers, then they should probably start pulling the millions of advertising dollars they've already reserved to try to defend their weak incumbents from their party's politically toxic agenda.