GOP Leaders Acknowledge They Have Work to Do to Reclaim Majority

Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:06am

A penitent group of House Republican leaders said on Wednesday the special election loss in Pennsylvania’s 12th district on Tuesday showed they have a lot of work to do before they can win back the majority in November.

“I do think we will reclaim the majority,” Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) said. “But last night is evidence of the fact that we have a lot of work to do and we just can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

Minority Leader John Boehner said Republicans needed to continue to “organize” and fundraise in order to present a strong front for general elections.

“I think it’s pretty clear we’ve got to continue to organize, we have to continue to work on our agenda project that you’ll be hearing more about this week and next in terms of listening to the American people,” the Ohio Republican said. “We’ve got to continue to raise resources. We can’t be at a financial disadvantage like we are now.”

House Republicans plan to unveil next week part of a project devoted to reclaiming the majority, dubbed the Commitment to America.

During a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions took responsibility for the GOP’s latest special election loss, according to sources in the room.

The Texas Republican attributed the defeat, at least in part, to the high Democratic vote turnout. However, Sessions said the buck stops with him.

Democrat Mark Critz defeated GOP businessman Tim Burns, 53 percent to 45 percent, for the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha (D).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the NRCC each spent about $1 million in independent expenditures on the race, joining other groups outside the district that also invested in the race.

Greg Giroux contributed to this report.