GOP considers new national leadership after string of election losses: Obama
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A year after Republicans recaptured control of the White House, the party now faces a daunting task of taking back Congress and dealing with a resurgent Democratic Party that has helped drive the economy into a recession.
Republican members of Congress, some who have had to run in tough congressional districts, are in a fight for their political lives as the GOP wrestles with whether to take on President Barack Obama in the November congressional election.
Many in Congress say the party should not be making the same mistakes made after the party swept into power in 2006 – relying on a small core of conservative candidates who won seats at first and then were unable to deliver on their promises.
That means the party will spend this year wrestling with how to best appeal to a broader electorate, with a new president who has spent much of his first term blaming them for the country’s problems and pushing other policies.
“We’ve taken a course where we had a big victory at the party’s national convention, and now we’re going across the country, the state-by-state contests, and we’re still not winning,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah. He argued that the party needs to work to win its congressional majority.
“The whole country’s not going to turn out in November if we don’t win the Congress,” he said in an interview.
The mood is not optimistic on Capitol Hill.
“We have to get it done. That’s all there is to it,” said Representative Chris Smith, another Utah Republican.
Some lawmakers are already criticizing Republican leaders for their handling of redistricting, which is expected to help them defend more congressional seats in November. They argue that the party needs to make changes to the way it can win congressional races, a task that has proved to be a struggle for the party under President George W. Bush.
House Speaker John Boehner called redistricting the “biggest challenge” for his party this cycle, adding that the Democrats would be “crowing” about the difficulty of winning a majority in the 112th Congress when the