Republicans are fearing the worst in the House and Senate races as early numbers show Hillary Clinton with a strong lead over Donald Trump in national polls.
"Overall, it's a miracle we’re even in this thing right now," one Republican Senate strategist told the Los Angeles Times. "How could it get worse? But it always does."
Trump's already-bumpy campaign took a torrid turn ahead of the second presidential debate when allegations of past sexual assault surfaced following the release of an 11-year-old audio tape where the Republican nominee boasted of groping and kissing women.
Party support for Trump whittled -- Sen. John McCain on Oct. 9 said he wouldn't back him, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan a day later told reporters he would only campaign for a GOP Congress -- and poll numbers dropped. The Democrats have taken advantage, spending campaign money in key Senate races and, according to the L.A. Times, pondering allocating more for the House races.
"I used to think there was a narrow path for them to hold on by their fingernails, but I no longer believe that’s true," Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told the Times. "It's not a pretty picture."
Democrats need four seats in the Senate to take the chamber if Clinton wins. The House, still a Republican majority by 30 seats, could be largely diminished.
"We could run the risk of facing substantial losses," executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee Rob Simms wrote in a memo to House Republicans on the day of the final presidential debate according to the Times.
"The national environment is beginning to create uncertainty in several of these races, as legitimate questions are now being asked about whether the unprecedented unfavorability of the presidential candidates will lead to depressed turnout."
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