Democratic chairwoman offers optimism for her party's prospects


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz offered an optimistic assessment of her party's chances in this year's midterm elections--an assessment at odds with what many analysts predict.

At the moment, Republicans are widely expected to retain control of the House of Representatives and are seen by independent analysts as having a decent chance of a net gain of the six seats they need to win control of the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press,'' addressed key concerns.

"Each of these candidates have to run their own race. They have to talk about and focus on the issues that are important to their constituents," she said. "And what's also true is if you look at the success rate and the track record of these incumbent members -- Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich -- they are all ahead of any of their Republican opponents"

Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, maintained Republicans "are mired in a civil war where the tea party has won, and they are consistently nominating the most extremist candidates. And we're on offense in states as well, so you've got Georgia and Kentucky and even Mississippi where we have a very good chance to pick up both seats.

"So this election is going to be quite competitive all the way to the end, but we have to return our voters out. That's the bottom line."

Landrieu, D-La., and Begich,D-Alaska, criticized Friday the White House decision to likely delay a ruling on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the November election. 

"What's true is the decision over the Keystone pipeline is complex, and it's one that has to be examined very carefully. It affects multiple states," Wasserman Schultz said. "What's also true is that incumbent senators like Mary Landrieu understand the issues that are important on the ground in their state to their constituents."


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