House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is brushing off signs of improved midterm prospects for Democrats, suggesting that the party is trying to manufacture optimism.
“It seems like when you get about two months away from an election, Democrats always try to create what I would call faux-mentum,” Scalise said in a Tuesday press conference.
“You saw it two years ago,” Scalise said. “[Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D–Calif.] was going to flip 15 or 20 more seats to the Democrat side, and they tried to create that faux-mentum on the left. And what ended up happening? We flipped 15 seats from Democrat to Republican.”
Republicans have been forecasting for more than a year that they will take back control of the House in the midterm elections. More than 30 House Democrats opted to retire rather than seek reelection, adding to the sense of doom on their side.
But some close polls and an uptick in job approval ratings for President Biden is giving the party a much-needed boost.
Democratic lawmakers have also been flaunting their legislative accomplishments, particularly the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last month, which included climate change, tax, and health care measures.
Most of all, Democrats see a surge in voter enthusiasm following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights protections in Roe v. Wade.
Scalise, though, insisted that while out campaigning he has seen “tremendous excitement and enthusiasm for our great candidates on the Republican side.” He expressed optimism about flipping seats in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
“We’re seeing inflation at record levels, we’re seeing energy costs and food costs at record levels. And people are angry about that,” he said.
On Friday, House Republicans are unveiling a “Commitment to America” plan similar to the “Contract with America” spearheaded by former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrigh (Ga.) before the “Republican revolution” 1994 midterm.