WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs believes Democrats could “absolutely” lose the Senate in November’s midterm elections.
Speaking on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, Gibbs said President Barack Obama needs to start getting involved more so Republicans don’t take over the six seats they need for a majority.
“If he doesn’t get more involved in raising money and making this a choice … you lose the Senate,” Gibbs said. “And if you lose the Senate, turn out the lights because the party’s over.”
Gibbs explained that the states that are facing the toughest tests for Democrats – Louisiana, Montana and North Carolina – are states that Obama did not fare well in during the 2012 presidential election.
“What gives (Republicans) a huge advantage, obviously, is the states they are in,” Gibbs told NBC News.
Republicans are optimistic they can achieve the six-seat gain needed to retake the Senate.
Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas are on the ballot for the first time since voting for the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The law’s wobbly start and its image as a power-grab have the incumbents on the defensive, emphasizing local issues and avoiding unnecessary mention of the second-term president who leads their party.
Obama’s Gallup job approval lingers in the low 40s, and is even lower in several states with pivotal Senate races. Republicans want to feed on that and follow the same road map that carried them to a House majority in 2010, Obama’s first midterm election.
“Democrats hope this doesn’t become a national election, but we don’t think that’s the case,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short.
Democrats want the Republican primaries to project divisions and extremism. With Congress more unpopular than the president, they seek to highlight those Republican Senate candidates who are already serving in the House.
In 2012, Democrats defied early predictions and expanded their Senate majority by winning in GOP-leaning Missouri and Indiana, where conservative candidates tripped over their own pronouncements on rape and other issues.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)