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Cornyn Likes Outlook, Hopes for GOP Control of Senate in 2012

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) remains optimistic that his party is headed for major gains in the Senate on Nov. 2, but he still believes flipping the chamber is a two-cycle project more likely to come to fruition in 2012.

Following the five-week August recess, Cornyn sees nothing on the seven-week political horizon that could significantly shift voters away from favoring Republicans. If anything, Cornyn asserted in a brief interview Monday evening, whatever happens on Capitol Hill during the September work period is more than likely to hamper Democratic efforts to resuscitate their political standing.

“I don’t think anything that happens here, for example, over the next few weeks, can make things any better for the Democrats. It could make things worse,” he said. “I think the trend line has been pretty consistent and is not going to change much between now and November.”

However, two potential sore spots for Cornyn — Senate races in Alaska and Delaware — remain unresolved, and in both cases the NRSC chairman declined to predict an outcome.

“I think it’s going to be close,” Cornyn said regarding Delaware’s GOP Senate primary Tuesday between the establishment favorite, Rep. Mike Castle, and upstart challenger Christine O’Donnell. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

A Castle victory would leave the GOP favored to pick up Vice President Joseph Biden’s old Senate seat, while an O’Donnell victory would all but assure that the Democrats retain the seat.

Cornyn said he had yet to speak with Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski since she announced she might pursue re-election as a write-in candidate. Murkowski lost to attorney Joe Miller last month in the Alaska Senate primary, and her entry into the general election as a major third-party candidate could jeopardize control of an otherwise solid GOP seat.

Cornyn said Monday that he spoke with someone who told him that Murkowski was still considering her options and had yet to make up her mind.

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