DSCC's Patty Murray: 'It Is A Great Day'
"It is a great day," Murray said in a conference call Wednesday.
The Democrats were defending the seats of 23 senators who caucus with them on Tuesday, to the Republicans' 10. Still, the party managed to gain ground, with a virtual sweep of battleground races in Massachusetts, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Maine. On Wednesday, Republicans conceded races in North Dakota and Montana, as well.
"Every single Democratic incumbent won reelection last night," Murry beamed.
She sought to cut off the developing story line that Tuesday's strong showing was the result of two bad GOP candidates in Missouri and Indiana, Rep. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who stumbled over comments about rape, pregnancy and abortion. "Offensive comments from Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock did not decide this election," she said.
The GOP defeat on Tuesday was so complete that Democrats would not have lost seats, presuming Maine's incoming Independent Senator Angus King caucuses with them, even if both Akin and Mourdock had won.
Murray said the election was a warning shot for the GOP about the need for compromise. "If Republicans want to follow the tea party off a political cliff that's their prerogative," she said, adding that Democrats wouldn't let the country follow. If coming talks to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff in January, when taxes will rise and cuts automatically go into effect, are to succeed, she said Republican must "put that one ingredient back into the solution and that is revenue."
Murray had no ill words for her GOP counterpart, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, instead offering "sympathy and understanding." Murray had chaired the DSCC in 2002, when the party lost seats. The GOP's tendency to nominate hard line nominees was beyond Cornyn's control, she said: "I don't see this as a John Cornyn problem; I see this as Republican Party problem."