Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, predicted on Wednesday that Republicans will pick up a net of five to seven House seats in November.
Speaking at a National Journal/Atlantic/CBS News event at the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Sessions said he was confident that Republicans put the necessary work in last year to defend new members who were swept into office in 2010 and had built an aggressive plan to maintain those gains and add more seats this fall.
“This year is about offense and winning those new seats. I believe we will win a net of five to seven new seats across this country because we are playing offense not trying to protect what we have,” Sessions said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, predictably, has refuted Sessions' optimistic outlook. DCCC officials have said that Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan and the recent scandal involving Rep. Todd Akin -- combined with Congress' massive unpopularity -- help tilt the odds in their favor.
In addition, recent generic polls have given Democrats the edge on the questions of whether voters would prefer a Democratic or Republican House candidate, or which party should control the chamber.
Sessions said that last year, he and the NRCC’s deputy chairman, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., “divvied up the country and spent our time to make sure that our incumbents -- we call patriots -- are going to win. We did that.”
With regards to the Senate, which is currently held in Democratic control with a 53 to 47 split, Rob Jesmer, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who was also at the event, said he thinks “we have a real great shot,” of winning control of the chamber.
Acknowledging Akin is unlikely to win Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's seat, after making comments about “legitimate” rape, Jesmer added, “We just hit a bump in the road in Missouri, but we feel that is offset, by Connecticut, moving in the right direction, Ohio, moving in the right direction, Michigan moving in the right direction, and so we feel we have a really good shot of winning.”
About Akin’s odds, he added, “I just don’t see a path to victory for him right now.”