Seven GOP House members looking for a promotion to the Senate next year reportedly may have their hopes dashed by a protracted government shutdown.
The last time the government shut down, in 1995 and 1996, few competitive Senate contests at that time hinged on the shutdown.
But races next November could be far different, and if voters hold the GOP responsible for the shutdown, hopes of a Republican majority in the Senate may be in jeopardy, the Washington Post reported
At the moment, the chances of GOP Senate wins in four states are a distinct possibility.
Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has no real opponents in his bid for the Republican nomination in the contest against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is the front-runner in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy has cash resources in the race to face Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Montana Rep. Steve Daines is expected to join the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the Post noted.
In Georgia, three House members — Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, and Paul Broun — are among the half-dozen serious contenders for a seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
All seven have voted with Republicans on continuing resolutions that then failed in the Senate, the Post and ABC News noted
, as well as on piecemeal measures to fund particular functions of the government.
Capito blamed the shutdown on both chambers of Congress – though she said the Senate carried more of the onus.
"We never wanted it to come to this ... but we couldn't get the Senate to act," she told the Charleston Daily Mail
A spokeswoman for Cotton pointed fingers at Democrats – and President Obama.
"Tom never advocated a government shutdown — that is something being promoted by Mark Pryor and Barack Obama," spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt said
"Tom Cotton and Republicans are trying to reduce spending and spare Americans the train wreck that is Obamacare."
For his part, Daines told the Billings Gazette he hoped for "common ground."
"We’re hearing from the voice of Montanans and Americans, saying we want two things: We want to see the government remain open and have Congress act on some of the harmful provisions of Obamacare," Daines said
"I’m hoping the president and [House Speaker John Boehner] can engage so we can find some common ground to move forward."
But voter polling shows the blame for the government shutdown is falling more heavily on Republicans.
A CBS News poll Tuesday and Wednesday showed 44 percent blamed Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, while 35 percent said Democrats and Obama were more to blame.
And a CNN/ORC International poll Sept. 27-29 – before the shutdown — found 46 percent would blame congressional Republicans while 36 percent would blame Obama, the Post reported.
In both surveys, roughly 15 percent of Americans said they would blame both Republicans and Democrats equally.
The GOP also is suffering from a falling approval rating – its lowest ebb since 1998 at the height of the Clinton impeachment drive, the Post noted. Just 32 percent of Americans told CNN they had a favorable impression of the GOP.
Democrats are taking a hit as well, with 43 percent of Americans viewing them favorably, the lowest since a 44 percent rating right before the 2010 elections.
"Weak incumbents like Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich are the status quo in Washington and are forced to defend a system that clearly isn’t working under their management," Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Post.
But spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Justin Barasky told ABC News a shutdown "is a reckless and dangerous way to run the country and Republicans who support it include virtually every Senate candidate in the country."
Voters, he said, will hold them "accountable" in 2014 for "doing something that hurts the economy, hurts jobs, hurts small business, and hurts students trying to pay for college ... there are no positives to shutting down the government."
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