Schumer Sees Momentum; DSCC Airs New Ad Attacking McConnell

Posted October 8, 2008 at 11:48am

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) indicated Wednesday that Democrats are poised to pick up seven seats or more in November.

Schumer also announced that the DSCC has started airing an ad going after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Although he declined to offer a specific number of seats the Democrats will pick up on Election Day, Schumer said Democratic candidates in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire and Alaska continue to hold strong leads. And he said that candidates in Oregon and North Carolina have pulled ahead of GOP incumbents in recent weeks. Previously, Democrats have said they were in a good position to pick up four or five Senate seats this election cycle.

“The wind is more strongly at our back than ever. The message of economic change is succeeding everywhere, and so over the past three weeks we’ve seen a dramatic shift in our direction,” Schumer said.

But asked whether he believes that Democrats, who control the Senate with a narrow 51-49 majority, will reach the magical, filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold, Schumer would only say the odds of that happening “are better than they were a couple of weeks ago.”

Schumer said that both McConnell’s race in Kentucky and GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ contest in Georgia have become newly competitive in just the past two weeks, with Democratic candidates pulling even in both public and private DSCC polls.

The DSCC ad against McConnell attacks him on the economy, but Schumer said the committee was largely steering clear of ads critical of endangered Republicans who voted for the recent $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan. McConnell is facing millionaire health care executive Bruce Lunsford (D).

Schumer would not say whether the DSCC would begin airing ads in Georgia for Chambliss’ opponent, former state Rep. Jim Martin (D), but said the committee has already committed funds to field operations there.